Let’s support Ukrainian teams together and wish them well at the Diamond Challenge Finals and discover inspiring ideas that may change our world from Ukrainian school students!
Recently on March 2019, 50 Ukrainian high school students aged 14 - 17 years old presented their business concepts during All-Ukrainian Preliminary Round of Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs at the America House Kyiv. 19 best teams, which were selected from all over Ukraine by online-judging, presented their Business Innovations and Social Innovations concepts in front of honorable judges.
Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs is organized by Charity Fund ICEPP with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine in partnership with the University of Delaware, Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine and Peace Corps Ukraine.
Nataliia Shkurka, Diamond Challenge Coordinator in Ukraine, said: This program is an opportunity for high school students to dive into the world of developing an idea of their own businesses. Unfortunately, Ukrainian schools do not provide business education in the official school curricula, therefore, such non-formal educational programs as Diamond Challenge stimulate teenagers to develop their entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy knoweldge, and motivate them to learn about business strategies, business planning, marketing, financial planning etc. The most valuable thing about this project is that teenagers have a chance to get a feedback about the work done throughout all stages of competition: from online judges, mentors, experts and representatives of successful Ukrainian companies”.
This year Business Innovations track was judged by Yurii Tkachenko – General Manager at VELUX Ukraine and Coordinator of VELUX in Belarus; Julia Gerasymenko – Founder and CEO at Business Teaching Center; Tetyana Prokopchuk – Vice-President at the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, Gennadii Shestak – Co-owner and CEO at Ugears, Oleksandr Yarema – Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine and Viktoria Mikhailenko – Cultural Affairs Assistant at Public Affairs Section at the U. S. Embassy in Ukraine.
The jury faced an extremely important task – to be objective and impartial, but not too strict in order to inspire each of the participants to embody their own business despite the results of the competition. Participants presented their business concepts in various fields such as energy, medicine, tourism, language learning, information technology, etc. Having 5 minutes for pitching in English, each of the team needed to prove jury that they have the most viable idea.
First place was awarded to the team NoteSpace from Kyiv (Davyd Viniarskyi and Nikita Taratorin). Students want to create a NoteSpace – a special device with software that helps composers and musicians to automize many aspects of their work, allowing them to fully concentrate on their creative endeavors. It allows to write music down without using note sheets and it fully automizes the process of music creating. Moreover, it provides automatic music sheets turning while playing music.
“We are shocked and extremely happy at the same time. We didn’t expect to win. We are very happy and feel extreme responsibility for Ukraine’s representation in the United States”, – noted the authors of the victorious concept Davyd and Nikita.
Second place was awarded to ProGranny from Dnipro. The team is represented by Alina Novosolova, Kateryna Lushnia and Anfrii Shevtsov. They want to create ProGranny – Program Assistant with AI, which allows older people to cope with information technologies, recognizing all user requests and interpreting their meaning in an accessible form.
“Our algorithm can be used not only for the ProGranny program, but also for teaching modern informational technologies children, teachers, other people. Our product is ready for 80%, therefore, we are searching for opportunities to launch our Program”, said Kateryna.
Third place was awarded to the team InSky Light from Oleksandriia which consists of Yelyzaveta Terentieva and Dmytro Steblyna. InSky Light is a network of power plants which generate and transmit electricity in a wireless way with the help of Global Electronic Network.
Summing up the results of the competition, Tetyana Prokopchuk, Vice-President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine said, “It is encouraging to observe that Ukraine has so many young and passionate leaders who seek to find ways to solve certain social issues”.
According to Julia Gerasymenko, the founder and CEO of the Foreign Language Training Center, it is necessary to make your dreams come true despite the criticism and opinions of others. “Many people can say that your idea isn’t viable. But it can possibly change your life and the lives of others not only in Ukraine but also in the whole world. Don’t be afraid to create something new, make mistakes and stand up again. The main thing is to move forward and to know that everything is possible”.
Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Oleksandr Yarema stressed “It is incredible that in this Program all participants have equal opportunities regardless place of living, it doesn’t matter if you live in a big city or in a small village. Every project is worth of implementation. I’m impressed by the modern Ukrainian youth who creates such innovative and interesting business projects. It's great that our youth are ready to work for the development and prosperity of our country”, noted Mr. Yarema.
Social Innovations Track was judged by Kelli Moorehead – Peace Corps Ukraine Volunteer within the Youth Development Program; Oleksandr Tsepko – PSD Expert, Coordinator of the EU Initiative “Mayors for the Economic Growth”; Andrii Ivchatov – CEO of fitness center for children with physical disabilities “Samotuzhka”; Mariia Barabash – Ukrainian Investment Banker, Social Activist, Founder and President of Ukrainian investment company A7CAPITAL (member of A7GROUP), Co-Founder of Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs; and Bohdan Kelichavii from the USAID’s DOBRE Program.
This year 10 teams offered their concepts of social business in different areas: solutions to the problem of urbanization, creation of eco-parks, house construction for homeless and the latest methods of creating environmentally friendly clothes.
First place was awarded to the team BINCLE of Svitlana Honcharuk from Zaporizha and Viktoriia Zhdanova from Enerhodar. Bincle is an application which addresses the issue of the lack of disability inclusion in the society by with a network of caring volunteers to assist people with disabilities when they need help. Girls impressed judges with a perfect pitch and a well-developed business plan. “We feel honored to represent our country in the United States, and this must be done very well so that everyone understands that this is Ukraine and see what we are capable of” said Svitlana and Viktoriia.
Second place was awarded to the team Rehabox which consists of Serhii Durytskyi, Ivanna Mendyl, Lilia Aliesanova and Dmytro Stakhov. United team from Cherkasy, Kyiv, Pereiaslav-Khmelnitskyi made a concept of special rehabilitation room for military soldiers who suffers from posttraumatic syndrome. Such rehabox use innovative methods of curing, for example, virtual reality.
Third place was awarded to the team Re:Project from Kyiv which consists of Milena Rybtsova and Marianna Iovenko. Girls offered to turn the abandoned buildings in Kyiv into new interactive environments for young business companies and startups.
“I would’ve never guessed that these projects are developed by teens, because all participants draw the attention to very serious social challenges. It’s very interesting to observe, what kind of solutions they offer!” – said Oleksandr Tsepko, Social Innovations live judge.
2 winning teams expect a $1,000 reward and a paid trip to the USA, where the Worldwide Final Round during the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit from April 13-15, 2019 will be held. Winners at this stage will get 11 thousand dollars for the first place, 7000 dollars – for the second, and for the third one - 3500 dollars.
Photos provided by ACC