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Ukraine’s most important IT event lays the groundwork for a post-war tech hub

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The war in Ukraine extends beyond the front lines. While soldiers risk their lives on battlefields, the survivors defend the home front – and the economy.

The conflict has devastated businesses, but the tech ecosystem has shone amid the gloom. In the first quarter of this year, the industry generated a record $2 billion in export services. IT Arena 2022an annual conference in the city of Lviv, showed the vital role of the sector in the war – and in the peace that will follow.

The event is the brainchild of Lviv IT clustera community of companies, authorities and universities that is turning the local region into the technical center of Eastern Europe.

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The heart of technology comes to the heart of the Mediterranean

This year’s edition faced unprecedented challenges. The organizers had to ensure the safety of each participant, adapt the format of the event to the war situation and gather international speakers in a country under invasion. Overcoming these obstacles provided further evidence of Ukraine’s strengths.

“Conferences like this show that we are truly resilient,” said Stepan Veselovskyi, CEO of Lviv IT Cluster. “Even during a war, we can host an exciting tech event, bring startups here and attract investment.”

To ensure a safe and successful event, IT Arena has been reduced to 1,000 attendees this year. There were also fewer entries for the illustrious Startup Competition.

Nevertheless, the contenders showed the power of technology in difficult times, with their focus on real problems. Notably, five of the ten finalists focused on health technology services.

Some of the solutions shown are already saving lives. DonorUAwhich provides an automated blood donation system, has put 7,000 people in contact with donors.

It’s not just lives that the teams save. Another app, Palianytsia, was created to promote the Ukrainian language. According to the founders, language is a matter of national security.

The event kicked off with the semifinals of the startup competitions.