On 15 September, 2020 the GIST Innovates Ukraine program officially kicked off its formal training series for a group of science and technology innovators based in Ukraine. The virtual program twenty-two, three-person startup teams composed of an Entrepreneurial Lead, a Technical Lead, and a Business Mentor. Each team has a science or technology idea or prototype that they are seeking to commercialize. The GIST program provides expert instructors who teach and mentor the teams in concepts including building value chains, defining their commercial ecosystem, and ongoing customer discovery to form their business thesis.
In May and June of this year, teams met weekly for a pre-program orientation that introduced basic Lean Startup methodologies. These meetings helped the individual members become parts of cohesive teams and the entire cohort to bond around the experience. Throughout the summer the teams continued to do customer discovery and begin to build their business models. The original schedule for the program included an opening workshop in Kyiv followed by six weeks of online interim training. The training program would have concluded with an in-person closing workshop in Kyiv to showcase the progress teams had made. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program pivoted to an entirely virtual event.
When the teams returned for the new September kickoff, they already had the beginning concept of their commercialization trajectory and were eager to take next steps. They will continue to meet throughout the fall as they learn advanced Lean Startup methodologies and build their path to commercial success.
The GIST program looks forward to working with these amazing entrepreneurs on their innovation journey!