Seeds of Bravery — project launch

Seeds of Bravery — project launch

Strategic Boost from the European Innovation Council for the Ukrainian Deep Tech Ecosystem

Warsaw, 24th January 2024 — The grand kick-off meeting of the “Seeds of Bravery” (UASEEDs) project marked the official launch of open calls for proposals for all five support programs, designed to empower tech startups and SMEs with innovative solutions, services, and products, today.

On December 20, 2023, a pan-European consortium, composed of renowned tech, funding and business companies, launched a €20 million “Seeds of Bravery” project. The initiative is funded by the European Union, under the European Innovation Council (EIC) and aims at supporting the Ukrainian Tech Ecosystem.

With a focus on deep tech innovation, the group has earmarked €12 million for 200 Ukrainian startups. In addition to non-refundable grants, “Seeds of Bravery” aims to attract additional investment, promote Ukrainian projects, train entrepreneurs, enter international markets, and integrate the Ukrainian innovation ecosystem into the European network.

The kick-off event brought together UASEEDs consortium members, key stakeholders, innovators, and policymakers from Ukraine and the EU to announce the open calls for proposals for all five programs, providing insights into the application process, eligibility criteria, and the support offered. Among the distinguished guests were the Minister of Development Funds and Regional Policy and a representative of the National Center for Research and Development of the Republic of Poland (Aleksandra Ihnatovicz).

Each program targets projects that are key economic drivers for Ukraine's rebuilding efforts and enhance the presence of Ukrainian startups in a broader European innovation ecosystem. The project is also expected to pave the way for Ukrainian tech startups to participate in future EIC calls.

Unveiling types of support:

1. Business and Innovation Services: Offering grants up to €10,000, focusing on enhancing business models, plans, and growth strategies. Apart from financial support, beneficiaries can also join investors and accelerator communities both in Ukraine and in the EU, access matchmaking activities, and have the opportunity to receive free tickets to attend international tech conferences.

2. Innovative Entrepreneurship: With grants up to €25,000, this program supports business continuity and the establishment of women-led companies. Beneficiaries will also gain access to a wide array of activities, including matchmaking with EU and global tech communities, investor and accelerator networks, a 2-week online Market Fast Track program, and specialized coaching for female entrepreneurs.

3. Deep Tech Incubators: Providing €25,000 for early-stage startups, dedicated to activities like user or demand testing, prototype validation, and other pivotal pre-MVP innovation tasks. Beyond financial support, the program also offers non-financial benefits, that include matchmaking with an expansive EU and global tech community, participation in a Market Fast Track program, entry into a specialized Deep Tech Incubator and access to investors.

4. Rebuild Ukraine: Aiming to rapidly reconstruct postwar Ukraine with grants up to €25,000 for innovative products/services. The program targets tech SMEs and scale-ups with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7 or higher. It extends its support through matchmaking, Market Fast Track program, Digital and Deep Tech Booster (3-month acceleration & mentorship program), Funding Lab (proposal writing bootcamps and pitch trainings to increase access to funding), Finance Booster (a 4-week investment readiness program), Deep Tech Accelerator and access to a robust network of investors and accelerators.

5. Deep Tech Scale-up and Acceleration: Offering up to €50,000 to scale prototypes successfully piloted and expand market reach for companies with TRL of 7 or higher. Non-financial services include the possibility to receive tech tickets to co-working spaces and relevant conferences and events worldwide, access to investors and accelerators, Market and Legal Lab (legal services for startups entering EU or global markets), Deep Tech Accelerator, Finance Booster, Funding Lab, matchmaking with global tech communities, and a range of specialized labs and programmes (such as Digital and Deep Tech Booster and specialized coaching for female entrepreneurs).

All programs are designed to propel the selected projects to new heights, ensuring they receive the guidance, resources, and networking opportunities needed for success. Non-financial support will be tailored for each beneficiary (the scope of provided services will be determined individually for each tech startup and SME).

In general, grant recipients will be able to receive a maximum of €60,000 across all “Seeds of Bravery” types of support. Even if the application does not secure funding, there is still a chance for tech SMEs to receive recognition and access to valuable resources. By submitting a high-quality application, a project could be awarded a 'Seal of Excellence,' which carries several benefits.

For further details and application procedures, please follow the link: seedsofbravery.eu

“The development of innovations is one of Ukraine's priorities and the path to a trillion-dollar economy. The European Innovation Council's Seeds of Bravery project will open up new opportunities for development and integration into the global technology community. Already today, hundreds of Ukrainian scientists, startups, and entrepreneurs will be able to apply for 5 programs of the initiative, receive financial support and gain the best European experience. We believe in the ability of our innovators to implement revolutionary ideas. And the Ukrainian Startup Fund, together with other members of the consortium under the coordination of FundingBox, will help them realize their potential.” — Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology Development – Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.
“As we launch all five pivotal programs, our consortium plants the seeds for a future where Ukrainian resilience leads the way in rebuilding their economy. With the UASEEDs project we are not just offering financial support; we provide a platform for innovation, collaboration and growth. These comprehensive support programs are designed to unlock the full potential of Ukrainian entrepreneurs, helping them navigate challenges and seize opportunities in the European innovation ecosystem” — Anna Dymowska, CEO, FundingBox Accelerator, Warsaw, Poland.

About “Seeds of Bravery”:

The “Seeds of Bravery” project's main goal is to create a pan-European network that bilaterally supports both the integration of Ukrainian technology innovators into European ecosystems and their activities in Ukraine.

The UASEEDs consortium consists of 17 partners and 2 associate partners: Aalto University, Accelerace, CorkBIC, Da Vinci Labs, Cyber/nnov8, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, EIT Health, FundingBox Accelerator, Impact Hub Stockholm, Institute of Physics of National Academy of Science (EEN Network), Luxinnovation, Plug and Play, Sunrise Tech Park, Techosystem, Ukrainian Startup Fund, Vacuum Deep Tech Acceleration, YEP.

The “Seeds of Bravery” project complements the ongoing initiatives of the European Research Area for Ukraine (ERA4Ukraine), Horizon4Ukraine and ERC for Ukraine, as well as a special €25 million scholarship scheme under Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) for refugee researchers from Ukraine.

Disclaimer: Funded by the European Union, under the European Innovation Council (EIC). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the European Commission can be held responsible for them. UASEEDs project has received funding from the Horizon Europe Framework Programme under grant agreement No 101104445.

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