University of Tartu Idea Lab is transforming entrepreneurship education in Ukraine

On 19 March, an interactive seminar on innovative learning methods was conducted by the University of Tartu Idea Lab at the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science in Kyiv, with the audience comprising nearly 200 lecturers of universities all over Ukraine. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Ukrainian partner organisation. The opening words were delivered by the Deputy Minister   of education and science Maksim Strikha, who encouraged participants to be more active in using new teaching and learning methods and highlighted the role of Estonia in supporting the development of Ukraine’s education system.

The seminar was the last event targeted to educators in the project "Transforming Estonian Best Practice of Practical Entrepreneurship Studies to Ukrainian Universities” initiated by the UT Idea Lab. The project ended with a reception at the Embassy of Estonia in Kyiv on 20 March. The Ambassador of Estonia Gert Antsu acknowledged the work done in promoting entrepreneurship skills among the Ukrainian youth and establishing the start-up ecosystem.

Among the participants were also young entrepreneurs who had taken their first steps to becoming an entrepreneur in the course of the Yep!Starter business ideas development programme, which was designed by Idea Lab based on their experience with the Starter programme. The young people expressed their gratitude for the knowledge, skills and contacts, which they would not have received in the course of ordinary academic studies.

The best teams were given an opportunity to present their business ideas at the international Startup Day business festival in Tartu. Ihor Levenets, a student at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and founder of GiftHub, was excited for the opportunity to meet and talk to Martin Villing, the co-founder of Bolt (formerly Taxify) who he greatly admired.

In 2017–2019, the Idea Lab carried out a project aiming to transform the best practice of practical entrepreneurship studies to Ukrainian universities. The project involved the student-targeted business development programme Yep!Starter and two seminars on active learning and teaching methods to educators. 34 teams from Ukrainian universities completed the programme. According to Idea Lab Manager Maret Ahonen, the students were highly interested in the programme. All in all, more than 500 students participated in the workshops and their eagerness to develop their ideas was impressive. At the end of the workshops, students often gathered around the speaker to ask more questions.

The project would not have been successful without Andriy Zaikin, the leader of the Ukrainian partner organisation,  who managed to involve various stakeholders from universities and businesses in Ukraine. The project started with four universities: Kyiv National Economic University, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, the National Aviation University and Donetsk National Technical University. Today the Yep network involves nearly 30 universities all over Ukraine. Most of them have founded Start-up Clubs that connect people who promote the entrepreneurial mindset at the university.

In collaboration with the partner organisation and the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, two seminars for educators on active learning and teaching methods were organised for nearly 300 participants from different parts of Ukraine. The seminars were supervised by Lecturer of Entrepreneurship Elina Kallas of the University of Tartu School of Economics and Business Administration, and Olga Bogdanova, Vice Director for Academic Affairs of the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies. Kallas focused on creative techniques and their implementation in the study process. Bogdanova introduced innovative methods to activate the learning process. Both seminars were popular among the Ukrainian teachers.

For example, Kristina Babenko from Kharkiv Oblast said she had come to the seminar to update the learning process at her university: “All the activities were useful; I believe I will use more groupwork methods in my classes.“.  

The project  is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development and Humanitarian Aid Instruments.

Further information: Piret Arusaar, UT Starter Programme Manager, +372 516 2945,

Sandra Sommer
Press Officer
Tel: +(372) 737 5681
Mob: +(372) 5307 7820