The EIT Red Kalyna Initiative


Historically, the red kalyna, a deciduous shrub that grows four to five metres tall, is the most important plant in Ukrainian culture. It has become a powerful symbol of resistance against foreign dominance and political oppression, deeply ingrained in the hearts of Ukrainians. It is commonly featured in Ukrainian folklore, embroidered onto Ukrainian national dress, and even used as insignia of Ukraine’s armed forces.

Building upon the symbolism of this shrub with bright red berries, this year, the EIT Community launched its newest initiative, the Red Kalyna that aims to recognise and promote outstanding Ukrainian female entrepreneurs, educators and mentors, who have developed innovative products or solutions, or have transformed their businesses into innovative ones. 30 Ukrainian women were nominated for this year’s call, out of which nine remarkable individuals were shortlisted as finalists.

Applicants’ fields of expertise span various sectors including health, manufacturing, energy, food and climate. Furthermore, the initiative’s partners also encompass a diverse group of prominent institutions, such as Emerging Europe, the Ukrainian Start-up Fund, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the Women’s Business Chamber of Ukraine, the National Research Foundation of Ukraine, DareInnovations, Scientist Support Office of Ukraine, and lastly the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), EIT Girls Go Circular, EIT Alumni as well as the whole EIT Community in general.

Her Ideas, our Future: Women in Innovation

As part of the Red Kalyna initiative, the EIT Community organised an online panel discussion titled Her Ideas, our Future, featuring a wide range of participants from applicants and nominators to partners and members of the EIT Community. The panellists shared intriguing and insightful perspectives on the role of women innovators in society, and discussed potential future improvements in this domain. Emerging Europe, a valued partner of the Red Kalyna initiative, put together the main take-aways from this discussion.

The EIT Jumpstarter Grand Final

The EIT Jumpstarter Grand Final will take place on 30 November in Athens, where in-person and online participants will get a chance to meet the nine inspiring Ukrainian innovators of this year’s Red Kalyna. Moreover, the initiative’s partners will give out the following valuable prizes: 

  • One female leader will receive a two-year free membership in the Emerging Europe Global Visibility Programme worth EUR 5 000 
  • All finalists will receive a one-year free membership in the Women’s Business Chamber of Ukraine 
  • DareInnovation will provide a deep tech Access2Funding workshop worth EUR 5 000 for all finalists 
  • All finalists will receive a free training on intellectual property rights from the EUIPO 

Lastly, the EIT Community will highlight the groundbreaking work of the finalists in a promotional campaign. So follow our social media channels to learn more about the Ukrainian female innovators of the Red Kalyna initiative. 

Would you like to support Ukrainian female leaders?

We are looking for external partners who want to help female entrepreneurs from Ukraine. Join this meaningful initiative by offering in-kind contributions, and become a part of Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem. Sign up as a partner!