Press photo.

In Mariupol, 1991 Mariupol IT hub has been helping entrepreneurs launch IT businesses through the COVID19 pandemic.

Since late October 2019, Eastern Ukrainians with IT ideas have been able to seek help at the 1991 Mariupol Startup Development Center in Mariupol. Funded in part by European partners, USAID, the Social Boost NGO and the Mariupol City Council, the center aims to help entrepreneurs from Eastern Ukraine develop their businesses and skills.

“The aim is to help build a full ecosystem for IT companies in Mariupol. ” explains Maria Kutnyakova, the communication specialist at 1991 Mariupol to Ukraine Nu, “Almost 300 people have been through our courses so far.”

1991 Mariupol is the response to the ever growing need for IT specialists felt everywhere in the world. 1991 has to incubation programs, three start up courses, internship programs and an online course about investment in IT startups. In addition to that, 1991 hosts 17 IT start ups in the office in Mariupol.

“Few years ago the IT ecosystem in all of Ukraine had growth. We also had this in the Mariupol region. Everyone understands that we should work with the creative industry to restore our region after something bad happened to us,” Kutnyakova says, reffering to the war, “It is the best way to do. The idea is to have young people to work and study here while developing their own products and companies.”

The pandemic did pose a problem for the 1991 Mariupol IT hub, but since the beginning much of the activities have been moved online, where it has spread to all of Ukraine. Press photo.

Difficulties to overcome

Mariupol is a rather large city in Eastern Ukraine lodged in between the Black Sea, Crimea and Russia. The city is relatively isolated from the rest of Ukraine, and the conflict has driven away many young people who went to the big cities in Western and Central Ukraine to find better opportunities.

“A lot of people left here after the war. We have this prejudice, that to have a succesful startup, you have to go to Lviv, Kyiv or Odessa. We have a lot of problems with young people leaving to study in other big cities. We also have a very big problem with people studying and working here, but as soon as they had experience, they would leave to work somewhere else,” Kutnyakova says.

“We have a strategy of developing Mariupol and the region. The biggest problem is that people go away, and the city governments are doing many projects. 1991 is one of these projects, but in Mariupol we have many great projects like reconstruction of parks, of the sea line, cultural projects and then construction of the IT industry,” Kutnyakova says.

Always looking for angels

The program director, Eva Belchenko, was in Kyiv when Ukraine Nu visited the 1991 office in Mariupol. On a rocky Slack connection, she told that they are always interested in building bridges between their start ups and European angel investors.

“We are not necessarily looking for people, who just want to invest money in IT companies, because that is not always a good idea for companies at this stage, but opening a window of opportunity for angel investors and our start ups could be really interesting,” Belchenko said.

If you are interested in working with 1991, they can be contacted on phone (+38 067 719 1991) or email at A list of the start ups currently residing with 1991 Mariupol has been provided by the organization:

Start ups:

Mcom team startup – “Quick shopping list” is an application for online stores created on the Shopify platform, which improves the customer experience when creating a shopping cart and helps the business retain the customer and increase the average receipt.

Dogito startup – a service that improves the lives of dog owners. It has maps of dog-friendly locations, the ability to invite other dogs for walks and gamification.

InTrain startup – this is a service for finding fellow travelers by interests, for people who travel by train. The project’s mission is to make every passenger’s trip comfortable and safe.

InCity startup – this is a platform through which the business owner has the opportunity to create a chatbot for popular instant messengers (Telegram and Viber). We support businesses in their desire to simplify their customers ‘ access to products and services, which is why, in addition to the standard chatbot, access to additional resources of our platform is provided.

NEZABUDU startup – this is a service for storing information about the life and burial place of relatives and friends.

Helpfi startup – this is a service that helps you find the right service anytime, anywhere. This is a tool that enables performers to provide services as efficiently as possible. We want to take the service market to a new level, because we are convinced that everyone can provide services.

DriveDatum startup – the fastest way to build back-end logic for IT projects. This is a server logic constructor for software products from the no code generation, which allows you to build the project architecture in an optimized way, speeding up the programmer’s productivity process by five times. The logic of DriveDatum operation is based on the operation of the MVC pattern, whose principles they are used in the development of most modern web, mobile, and desktop applications. The constructor can work with big data and be efficient for most architectures. DriveDatum can be used to develop online services, mobile applications, social platforms, desktop software, ERP systems, and absolutely all products that build the back-end.

FineBinder startup – a system for employers and job seekers that provides an opportunity to find an employee or job in 3 days, complete an automatic interview created by the employer using gamification tools and 100% feedback.

LOOM startup – – this is a mobile AR app to increase the efficiency and gamification of advertising and transform the brand into lovemark.

Hologram startup – these are homes that are built by themselves using an optimized ecosystem. 3D house builder, with Real 3D goods and materials from Real suppliers. With AR visualization for viewing from mobile devices. With a built – in quality control system for suppliers, their goods, services, and supplies-Hologram.ERP.