Economic Resilience Activity
1991 Reload is a dynamic acceleration program born out of necessity, empowering tech startups affected by conflict. Originally designed to support ventures in eastern Ukraine, it swiftly transformed into a virtual haven for entrepreneurs, assisting Ukrainian startups during the first months of the war.
In 2021, SocialBoost, supported by USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), launched the 1991 Startup Development Center in Mariupol to develop tech startups in eastern Ukraine. The Russian invasion in 2022 disrupted the initial plan, leading to a relocation to Kyiv and a shift in focus to support internally displaced entrepreneurs. The team's efforts focused on the 1991 Reload program, specifically designed for IDP entrepreneurs from frontline regions, offering crucial assistance in the post-conflict period.
The 1991 Reload program, tailor-made for IDP entrepreneurs from Ukraine's frontline regions, shifted to an online format. Administered from SocialBoosr's Kyiv HQ, the program immediately provided consulting support to startups initially enrolled in the Mariupol program, ensuring 15 startups sustained operations after the full-scale invasion.
Expanding beyond expectations, the team conducted three online acceleration programs during 2022-2023, including “1991 Reload,” “1991 Acceleration: First Batch,” and “1991 Acceleration: Next Batch,” surpassing the initial plan of two programs and supporting 48 startups, up from the initially planned 30. The comprehensive online program played a pivotal role in guiding startups through various facets of development, resulting in tangible growth and success.
Complementing the acceleration programs, SocialBoost launched the “Mentor Yard” support program and achieved its second objective. This initiative provided invaluable technical consultations and educational events to MSME owners, significantly enhancing their business skills and knowledge.
The national communication campaign, a crucial third objective, successfully utilized diverse channels, including social media and video series, to broadcast success stories, fostering confidence and inspiring current and aspiring MSME owners to engage in business ventures in Ukraine.
The initiatives undertaken by SocialBoost, particularly the 1991 Reload Program, have yielded significant outcomes, showcasing the resilience and growth of IT/tech startups in Ukraine. team has increased the number of supported startups from 30 initially planned to 48. These startups have attracted a total of $172,000 in pre-seed investment and reached a sales indicator of more than $1,000,000.
“Mentor Yard” program has consisted of a total of 56 individual consultations (roughly once a week) between industry experts and current/future MSME owners. These consultations, combined with acceleration programs, comprised 133 direct beneficiaries.
All the activities have been supported by a vast communications campaign that reached more than 1,700,000 people and included video content, social media content, posts, articles, and online event streams.