The Russo-Ukrainian war is still ongoing and as it continues, Ukraine’s burgeoning IT and technology industry has had to take a backseat. 

But many companies, such as Mastercard, are still providing support for the country and creating opportunities and lanes for the sector’s recovery and growth. 

Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard Europe, headlined a panel at Money 20/20 Europe detailing the growth of Ukraine’s technological advancements and its continuing development. 

“Ukraine have set the gold standard for others to follow, in Europe’s pursuit in becoming a global leader in technology and who is attempting to become in front of the pact,” declared Barnett. 

“Such is the strength of Ukraine’s digital infrastructure that the prospering IT channels remained operational. But we cannot ignore the need and support for further long term progress. 

“Ukraine startups with its advanced IT sector, with a revenue of over $6bn, nowadays remain vulnerable to the country’s talent pool risks stagnation, with careers and education continuing to suffer from destruction.” 

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February has no doubt greatly affected the country’s people. As a result of this, many of Ukraine’s IT operators have not been able to flourish. But whilst the war has undoubtedly affected Ukrainians the most, the attack on Ukraine soil has also affected the rest of Europe’s technology operators too. 

Barnett explained: “The detrimental impact is not restricted to Ukrainian borders, it spreads across Europe, surrounding regions and the industry itself. Thus, while the humanitarian relief effort continues to be extraordinary and essential, we must now look towards the long term strategy for the recovery, resilience and prosperity of Ukraine’s economy.”

Barnett then delved into how Mastercard has been helping the sector and the displaced people of Ukraine. He revealed that Mastercard is set to launch the Mastercard start path initiative – focused on helping SME Ukrainian startups – in the fall of the year. 

“SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs have been a key factor in Mastercard launching an SME support centre in Warsaw, in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. 

“The Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth has also made a multi-million euro commitment to programs that support the ongoing stability and wellbeing of displaced Ukrainians now residing in Hungary. 

“At the World Economic Forum, President Zelensky called on a private centre to further support and play its part in rebuilding Ukraine. I have seen endless talents, resources, fintech and payment technology centres who can contribute to this colossal challenge.”

To round out, Barnett encouraged other potential fintech, payments, technology software companies alike in attendance, in the support of the Ukrainian people and its potentially massive IT and technology industry. 

“As such, I call on you all to join us in considering how we can leverage our qualities to support the immediate resilience and long term recovery of Ukraine’s Small Business economy. It is our duty to Ukraine, our duty to Europe and indeed to the world,” Barnett concluded.