As the country crumbles, Sir Richard Branson has backed the efforts of the Ukrainian IT industry to help Ukraine recover economically.
Virgin boss Sir Richard is backing the Brain Basket Foundation, which aims to make IT a driving force in the country by "creating a strong economy, coordinating efforts to train 100,000 people by 2020".
The foundation has gained full support from the interim Ukrainian government, especially from Pavlo Sheremeta, minster of economic development and trade for Ukraine.
When part of the old USSR, Ukraine was known as the bread basket of Russia, but it is now aiming to make its IT brains count for more in the economy. The initiative comes despite the country's fledgling outsourcing market taking a hit as the country potentially heads towards civil war.
In March, analyst Forrester said customers of outsourcing providers in Ukraine must ensure they have plans in place to move work out of the country in the event of further disruption.
But despite this Sir Richard said, in his blog, “Ukraine needs practical steps such as the Brain Basket Foundation. The foundation is aiming to make IT a driving factor in creating a strong economy, coordinating efforts to train 100,000 people by 2020. By boosting education and creating new jobs, it could help Ukraine get back on its feet.”
Torben Majgaard, CEO of Ciklum, one of Ukraine’s largest IT services providers, said: “It is fantastic to be endorsed by Sir Richard. It is important to get our message across to influential people around the world who can help us develop our IT industry, which will spearhead the recovery of the Ukrainian economy.”
He added: “We are very grateful for support already coming in from Microsoft, Cisco and other IT giants, which are helping us implement our strategy by providing expertise, donating funds and facilitating logistical issues."