The event's sessions included insightful discussions on the role of entrepreneurship in rebuilding Ukraine's economy, featuring voices from both the EU and Ukraine. Specifically, Prof. Kim Klyver from the University of Southern Denmark highlighted their IVDK hub for Ukrainians which provides training and assistance on integrating refugees and promoting entrepreneurship in Denmark. He explained that entrepreneurship is important for refugees, especially in terms of their identity, integration, and coping with crisis. Gennadiy Chyzhykov, Head of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, then emphasized that Ukrainian regions are open for cooperation citing specific sectoral examples such as Energy, Agriculture, and Engineering.
The European Commission then offered a comprehensive perspective on the measures being taken to support Ukraine and integrate it into the EU Single Market. Janis Aizsalnieks, Policy Officer, Support Group to Ukraine, DG NEAR discussed the funding made available by the Commission in support of initiatives to support Ukraine. Of specific interest is the €18 billion Macro-financial Assistance+ (MFA+) package through which, Ukraine gains the ability to sustain regular wage and pension disbursements, ensuring the continuous operation of crucial public services in areas such as healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and housing support for displaced individuals. Martine Diss, Senior Expert, Unit for Industrial forum, alliances and clusters, DG GROW then provided more concrete support initiatives such as services of the EEN and Ukrainian Cluster Alliance on how they help beneficiaries and members learn about the EU-business-cluster landscape, Focus Group on EU-Ukraine business cooperation and the Business Bridge call which provides financial support to Ukrainian SMEs affected by the war, in the form of vouchers to access services and participate in trade fairs in the EU. Representatives from EISMEA and DG Regio also shared other initiatives such as the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme (EYE) and Interreg calls.
Highlighting best practices, EER regions then shared their experiences and expertise on cooperation with Ukraine. The spotlight was placed on EURADA members, Oost NL and Malopolska region, who elaborated their initiatives in helping rebuild Ukraine. They exemplified how investment in entrepreneurs is part of rebuilding ecosystems.
The event also provided a glance at the EER 2025 call for applications, offering regions an opportunity to understand the criteria and requirements. A specific advice given to potential EER applicants was to imagine their answer to the question “What can I do with the EER award for my region?”. This tied in perfectly with the succeeding speakers - the EER 2024 Regions, who elaborated on how the EER award provided them with opportunities to position their region better in the EU and international arena. Application for the 2025 EER awards is now open!