KYIV – This week’s World Economic Forum in Davos hosts the forum's first Ukraine House. Open from today through Friday, the House acts a Ukraine hub for promoting the country's creativity and business opportunities to executives gathered in the Swiss mountain town.
To highlight Ukraine’s positive side to foreigners at the forum, the house showcases recent success stories in business and technology. The slogan is: "Ukraine: Creativity, Innovation, Opportunity."
Ukraine's information technology, agro tech and renewable energy sectors will be a special focus in presentations and panel discussions. IT executives will demonstrate their products and innovations.
Mounted for the first time in the 47-year history of the forum, Ukraine House is promoted by country’s political leadership. President Petro Poroshenko recently called it a unique opportunity to draw world attention to the country in a positive way, and to expose more Ukrainian projects to global investors.
On Thursday, Poroshenko will speak at the house about Ukraine's investment opportunities. He will be joined by Suma Chakrabarti, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or EBRD.
Poroshenko has made increasing foreign investment into Ukraine a goal of his administration. Many analysts say the country cannot exceed 3% annual growth without substantial injections of foreign capital.
Individuals from Ukraine's business and politics back the opportunity to fly the country's blue and yellow flag at Davos. CEOs want to present their wares to potential foreign partners.
“I am very pleased that we're now contributing strongly to presenting the country among the top international leaders,” said Victor Pinchuk, businessman and Ukraine house sponsor. “Showing the best of our country at Ukraine House and engaging in a dialogue with the international community is an important step forward.”
From the tech side, Dmytro Kostyk, CEO of Kodisoft, says: “Ukraine has no problem producing excellent products and services. But we still face challenges when it comes to presenting our ideas and products to the market and especially to potential foreign investors.”
Kostyk, a Kyiv native, will demonstrate his interactive, digital restaurant tables at Ukraine House. Using these ‘smart tabletops,’ visitors will order food and drinks.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur has sold thousands of his tables in dozens of international markets. They are used by McDonalds, Starbucks and KFC.
Bloomberg reports that Ukraine House Executive Director Alexa Chopivsky “wants to showcase cuisine and hired a Ukrainian catering company to make borscht and golubsti (meat and rice-filled cabbage rolls). Wine, cognac, vodka and chocolate from Lviv will be flown in.”
The Ukraine House event is organized and sponsored by Ciklum, the Association of Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, the Western NIS Enterprise Fund and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Ciklum, and the IT Association of Ukraine.
Rented last summer, the Ukraine House is in a storefront usually occupied by a Timberland shoe store. Now, it turns out that the Russia House is directly across the Promenade.
Hopefully, in keeping with the Forum’s spirit of dialog, snowballs will not fly across the street.
For comments and story ideas, please email UBJ Reporter Jack Laurenson at firstname.lastname@example.org