Mastercard announced a new Start Path initiative that has been specifically designed for Ukrainian fintechs and entrepreneurs to enable Ukrainian startups to accelerate growth and contribute to the rebuilding of the country’s economy.
The initiative – announced at Money 20/20 Europe in Amsterdam with the support of the National Bank of Ukraine and the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine – will launch this autumn, with the application process opening later this summer.
The initiative will initially support five Ukrainian startups over a six-month period during which participants will receive mentorship, access to the resources and networking opportunities required to scale, accelerate their business and impact the next phase of Ukraine’s recovery.
“Since the start of the invasion, Mastercard has been playing its part in supporting the Ukrainian people and economy. It’s our responsibility to extend these efforts and collectively do more as an industry and as a global organization in support of Ukraine’s recovery. As one of the world’s leading hotbeds of innovation, it is critical that we protect Ukraine’s startups for the health of the tech sector and economic rebuilding,” said Inga Andreieva, general manager, Mastercard Ukraine and Moldova. “In response to this monumental challenge, we are proud to announce this initiative. This is another step towards stability and prosperity for Ukraine’s startup sector. It is a path that will require collaboration, and we call on our industry peers to join us today in building a brighter tomorrow for Ukraine.”
“We’re convinced that digital finance is important for Ukraine,” said National Bank of Ukraine’s Deputy Governor Oleksii Shaban. “This is one of our priorities and strategic areas in line with the NBU Strategy until 2025. The development of the fintech ecosystem, in particular the startup environment, is also an integral part of our Strategy of Ukrainian Financial Sector Development until 2025. Even as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, we must already think about where to direct the financial system to meet the needs of postwar recovery and economic development. And, of course, the innovative financial sector will help us build new-level-of-quality relationships in this area. The initiatives aimed at the development of Ukrainian fintech companies and startups are therefore extremely relevant and necessary for our country.
“We also understand that the basis for the development of fintech and further digitalization is the availability of a favorable environment and infrastructure,” Shaban continued. “First of all, we are thus working towards modernizing the regulation of the financial market. In particular, we have made possible the implementation of the European PSD2 Directive and the open banking concept in Ukraine in the coming years, as required by the new law on payment services.”
Oleksandr Bornyakov, deputy minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine said: “The tech sector has proven to be important for the economy, and within the government we are eager to support the industry’s further development. We have a long-term strategy to make Ukraine the largest European IT hub. It’s all here — talented developers, a favorable startup ecosystem, and the best tax conditions. The digital economy will play a vital role in rebuilding and for the recovery of Ukraine. Therefore, investing in Ukraine is investing in the future of the democratic world.“
The new Start Path initiative builds on Mastercard’s ongoing strategy to support Ukrainian people and the country’s economy. To date, this has included strategic partnerships with banks to ensure the resilience of their infrastructure via cloud connectivity solutions; “Digital First” programs for mobile-only banking; partnerships with merchants, expanding its “purchase with cash withdrawal” service; and partnering with other organizations to simplify person-to-person transactions within the country.
Additionally, Mastercard has partnered with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine to launch the Diia.Business Consultancy Center for Ukrainian small- and medium-sized enterprises in Warsaw in May this year. The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth also announced a philanthropic commitment of $1.9 million dollars to support the ongoing stability and well-being of displaced Ukrainians now residing in Poland.
This initiative is the newest addition to Mastercard’s global Start Path programming. To date, Start Path has supported more than 300 startups around the world and today these companies are entering the public markets, reaching unicorn status and entering extended commercial engagements with Mastercard. Notable Start Path alumni include CNote, Doconomy, Revolut, and Subaio.