Ukrainian and American Innovation, United
The Ukraine Business Incubation Cohort Goes to Washington, D.C.!
The week kicked off on Monday, where the 13 innovators all met together for the first time, flying from their U.S. residencies in Tucson, Phoenix, and Chicago. This emotional homecoming heightened the shared struggles Ukrainian innovators are facing, but also the importance of community and connection in overcoming these challenges.
The group's first stop on Monday was at Ukraine House, a non-profit organization created to celebrate and support the Ukrainian people. They where joined by Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States. She had the opportunity to meet with innovators and the GIST Team, highlighting the importance of innovation in securing Ukraine’s future. This was followed by a workshop hosted by Cooley LLP: Registering Your Business in the U.S. & Protecting Your Company's Intellectual Property, designed to help Ukrainian entrepreneurs build businesses that can thrive not only in Ukraine but in the U.S. as well, continually deepening economic collaboration.
On Tuesday, innovators took advantage of the unique D.C. ecosystem and continued their business development experience with some of the leading innovation incubators in the country at Halcyon House and SEED SPOT. At Halcyon House, the innovators learned more about building financial models to help grow and sustain their businesses. Participants were also able to meet with Halcyon’s cohort of international innovators from Africa. At SEED SPOT, participants learned about U.S. business funding opportunities and best practices for securing local, state, and federal government contracts. This training was facilitated by Michael O’Brien, Managing Principal at MOB Advocacy Government Relations. Later that evening, innovators participated in a 1:1 business mentoring session where they were joined by former Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern, who brought his experience as a mentor to share regional insights.
To continue the mission of dialogue between our two countries, the Ukrainian innovators on Wednesday had the opportunity to directly interface with the U.S. Department of State, kicking off the day at a meeting with the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs where topics like the US’s involvement in supporting European countries such as Ukraine were discussed, heralding what is just the start of a new era of continued collaboration and shared innovation culture.
This was followed by a lunch with the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the GIST Initiative's home at the State Department, where participants were able to hear from Jason Donovan, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation, who shared remarks about how the GIST program is supporting early stage entrepreneurs and innovators in science and technology, enlivening the essential role that fostering global innovation plays in American leadership and diplomacy.
After continued meetings at the State Department with the Office of Subnational Diplomacy, the innovators returned to Seed Spot, where they had the opportunity to have 1-on-1 sessions with experts and practice their pitches.