Will innovation help Ukraine and Belarus to join the European Union?
Last year, our team from the Enterprise & Innovation Lab won a £700,000 (€850,000) project to help two former communist countries, Ukraine and Belarus. Our brief is to help create innovative cultures and accelerate economic growth.
As the political debate continues about whether Ukraine and Belarus should join the European Union and the risks of them being ‘cut off from the West’, this project could help these countries to gain confidence and skills in global economies.
1. Why is innovation important in Belarus and Ukraine?
Belarus and Ukraine are dominated by heavy industries which have relied on their internal markets for sales. Their business models are based around cheap labour and products tend to be old-fashioned.
These countries are waking up to the need for better quality products but, despite having strong academic universities, there is no culture of working with universities to innovate.
Our goal is eventually to help create a culture of open innovation, which is recognised as one of the fastest ways for a country to speed up its economic growth.
2. How do you create an innovative culture in a country?
The focus of this project – which has been funded by the European Commission – is twofold. We will help students to understand and apply innovation in a business context and academics to build relationships with businesses to encourage more innovation.
The Tempus project, which is funded by the European Commission, was launched at Uzhgorod National University in western Ukraine and we have a fantastic set of visits over the next year
- Study visit to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece at end February 2013
- Study visit to Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia in April 2013
- Study visit to Bradford University School of Management, UK mid May 2013
- Workshop in National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kiev early July 2013
- Study visit (including students) to 3 company-university innovation platforms in Tallinn in July/Aug 2013
- Study visit to UK (including students) in Nov/Dec 2013
- Workshop at Yanka Kupala State University, Grodno, Belarus in Dec 2013/Jan 2014
- Workshop at Kharkiv, Ukraine in July/Aug 2014
- Conference in Minsk between Sep/early October 2014 (end of project)
A few years ago, Bradford University School of Management set up an Innovation Club for businesses large and small to learn from each other and academics. This May, we will invite academics visiting from the project to take part in Innovation Club activities and identify ideas for their own countries.
Some of the businesses involved in this Club include Hallmark, Arena Group, Systagenix Wound Management, Northern Lights PR, Pace, Fosters Bakery and Beaumont Robinson. Read more about Charlie Shepherd’s workshop on How to Speed up the Innovation Process.
Do you think fostering innovation in Belarus and Ukraine will help these countries to modernise – and help their path towards joining the European Union?
And would your business like to join our Innovation Club in May? Contact us if you are interested C.Kalantaridis@Bradford.ac.uk
Supported by European Union Tempus“This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”