Leaving 2018 with a well-equipped Ukraine, where women are empowered to conquer the tech-business life!

Garage48 once again travelled to Ukraine for another Empowering Women hackathon; this time the destination was Kharkiv! Having spread the trend and diversified mindset, we are closing 2018 with 3 successful empowering women hackathons organised in Ukraine within 1 year. We can confidently say that the impact has been far-reaching and profound!

Why so many? To start with, it is simply our job to read the niche opportunities in the market. Even though IT-savvy labour is in great demand for many industries, and despite of widespread promotions for tech careers among women, it seems the ideal diversity is yet nowhere to be realised. Curious thing, isn’t it!? Many studies claim that there are still too much stereotypes to overcome and trigger a real change. You don’t need to think of big, fat examples when it comes to gender stereotypes. They are easily visible in our everyday-lives and possibly causing the long-terms outcomes for all of us.

For instance, have ever wondered why pink is often associated with girls, while blue is associated with boys? What would you think if you were told that it was quite the opposite back in 1920s?

Long ago, pink was described by marketeers as a masculine and strong colour, an equivalent of the red that was considered to be for men, but lighter for boys. Blue, on the other hand, was defined as gentle and elegant, and a better fit for girls. But department stores nonetheless found that people were increasingly choosing to buy pink for girls, and blue for boys, until this became an accepted norm in the 1940s.

Attempts to label genders and define who they are through pre-drawn borderlines is going way back. Today, many women still suffer from being perceived as fragile, and judged for wanting more. However, trying to characterise genders through cliches didn’t work by then, and it is not working right now. Today’s world is driven by strong women who choose to both elegant and strong, deciding their colours on their own. Unfortunately, odds are not always in their favour. And this is where we step up!

Even though the required potential and desire are out there, latest researches and stats show that right circumstances should be created for a little nudge and cumulative impact, if we want to give the stage to ladies. Therefore, we have been organising these Empowering Women hackathons to crash the stereotypes and boost gender diversity in tech-business world. Following two successfully completed hackathons in Lviv, this time we decided to team up with Beetroot and YEP and bring the winds of change to Kharkiv.

We invited all genders, ideas and backgrounds to create a well-balanced atmosphere and set the right alliance for each team. On Friday night, our hackathon kicked off with a lot of enthusiastic participants, top-notch mentors and our brilliant co-hosts Joao & Kai. More than 60% of the participants were women, which was an outstanding success. 12 ideas were pitched and, 8 teams were formed on the spot around the best ideas. All 8 teams survived 48 hours and came up with impressive prototypes.

“This isn’t just about women in tech; this isn’t just about getting more women to work in startups or leadership positions. This is about generating the right atmosphere to create ideas that can really empower women in their daily lives,” stated our co-host Joao Rei. Through this event, we aim to inspire and empower women of all ages to push them out of their comfort zone and take the control of their lives.”

Well said, Joao! But sometimes all we can do is to create the perfect environment equipped with tools, coziness and great mentors, and we have to hope for the best as the real impact is all about people attending these events. And how were they?

“It was very exciting to see how many how many smart and passionate young people in Kharkiv are ready to create and develop new IT ideas and solutions,” said Viacheslav Nozdrin, jury member and Beetroot Academy representative

“We saw teams of like-minded people who focused on a single goal and didn’t waste time on quarrels - everyone just did their job to get the sh*t done in 48 hours,” underlined Elena Parkhomenko, Business Mentor Development Director at ILF and one of our Business Mentors at Kharkiv.

Given the great potential of participants and constructive environment offered to them, the impact was inevitable. We sure had an effective hackathon with so many empowered young minds. 


Even though all ideas were brilliant and holding huge potential, our jury had to recognise and award the best ones to open their path to further success. Here are the winners and awards they got!

Overall Winner: wish.me

They built a Wishlist app where you can share your dreams with your family and friends, to bring more inspirational touch to Ukraine culture. In the app. You can book your friends can book ideas, create gifts out of them etc. They got awarded with free tickets for Startup Day 2019, accompanied by flight tickets and accommodation, powered by Startup Estonia.

Team members: Victoria Prykhodko – Project Manager / Irina Ershova – Front-end Developer / Inokentij Duka – Front-end Developer / Roman Sachenko – Back-end Developer / Oleksii Kovalov – UX/UI Designer

Wish.me team pointed out the great experience and chance they had to grow their idea from scratch to a startup, and thanked Garage48 team for the opportunity and support. They said with a little word play: “The greatest ideas were invented in garages. Thanks for helping us start ours.”

Victoria P. from the team added that the secret of their success is their team. “We wouldn’t stand a chance even if only one us missed the hackathon. We were perfectly balanced in terms of both skills and gender.”


1st Runner Up: Who Are You

They created platform which will help high school students to understand what occupation they want to choose in the future. They got awarded with plane tickets to visit Estonia and have an exclusive interview with E-residency.

Team members: Sofia Kovalenko - Team Lead / Denis Vyskrebets - Developer / Anna Ovchynnykova - Designer / Anastasia Berezina - Developer / Valeriia Kolesnyk - Marketer / Ann Mgerian - Designer

Following the award ceremony, Denis the Developer thanked to all Garage48 team for the crazy sleepless weekend, full of guidance and support shaping next adventures. No, Denis! We thank YOU for bringing great ideas to our lives and helping us create global impact.


2nd runner up & Fav of the Audience: HR Chain
They offer a blockchain-based HR-system that ensures information integrity and makes forgery impossible in order to increase trustworthiness and transparency between companies and employees. Team got awarded with free tickets to Latitude59 - the flagship startup & tech event of e-Estonia - along with an opportunity to pitch their idea on stage.

Team members: Olena Stoliarova - Marketing / Eugene Babich - Blochchain Developer / Michael Popsuev - Front-end Developer / Ihor Nesterenko - Back-end developer / Hennadii Panarin - Back-end Developer


Best Female Power Team: Unravel Travel

They suggest a platform where you can find like-minded people to travel with. The system matches you with people from all around the world and help you organise a trip based on common interests. They got awarded with special goodies by Garage48.

Team members: Sofia Didorenko - Marketing & Design / Yaroslava Yemets - Team Leader & Developer / Oksana Totska - Business Mastermind / Tetyana Oleinik - Business Mastermind/ Liuda Nikitina - Business Mastermind


Best Energy Award: FixrellA
They created an app where you can find all sort of answers to your relationship problems. They got awarded with special goodies by Garage48.

Team members: Lakshay Rawat, Alexander Nadein, Anastasia Sidorovich, Souharda Pahari


Tech-Excellence Award: AI Predictional Smart Car and Correlation

They built an AI assistant for predicting human behaviour while on the road - both for inside and outside of the car situations. Team got awarded with a follow up mentorship from Garage48 mentors.

Team members: Ievhenii Rvachov - Founder & Hardware-Software Engineer / Petro Chechko - Python Development / Nataliia Saltan - Marketing / Serhii Saltan - Designer / Oleksandr Lagoda - Data Engineer


Best Female Pitcher Award: Sofia Kovalenko from Team “Who Are You”.

She got awarded with a free entrance to IT Soft Skills School project, powered by Kharkiv IT Cluster.


Perseverance Award: Sasha from Team “Massage”.

Sasha got awarded with a consultation from Beetroot Academy and support to find a team to build the app.

We are truly thankful and grateful to all our mentors and partners who made our hackathon truly impactful through their guidance, know-how and passion. A special thanks go to our mentors and jury members!

  • Joao Rei - Co-host & Business Mentor
  • Kai Isand - Co-host & Business Mentor
  • Merilin Lukk - Business Mentor (Startup Visa Project Manager at Startup Estonia)
  • Maido Parv - Design Mentor (Senior Visual Designer at Microsoft)
  • Romet Tagobert - Tech Mentor (Software Engineer at GrabCAD)
  • Marina Shutova - Marketing Mentor (Community Manager at Lingvist)
  • Marko Russiver - Design Mentor (Founder and CEO at Guaana)
  • Kristi Tammet - Tech Mentor (Cross-Product Integration Manager at Playtech)
  • Christer Loob - Tech Mentor (CEO & Co-founder at Operose)
  • Yevgeniy Shpika - Business Mentor (Founder & CEO at pics.io, Co-founder at azzurro.io)
  • Oksana Kobzar . Business Mentor (Partner at Axon Partners, Attorney-of-law)
  • Stanislav Termosa - Tech Mentor (Software Engineer a BanQu Inc.)
  • Olena Parkhomenko - Business Mentor (Business Development Director at ILF)
  • Julia Shaptala - Business Mentor (Director at WebSpellChecker LLC)
  • Ira Tischenko - Business Mentor (Product manager at Beetroot)
  • Kateryna Stetsura - Business Mentor (Educationalist at Beetroot) 

The event is organised by Garage48, Beetroot and YEP in partnership with Estonian Development Cooperation; and it was a truly a pleasure! We are sending our deepest gratitude to all our partners and sponsors, who supported us in this hackathon!

See you again in Ukraine in 2019 with new adventures and loads of impact stories. Let’s keep empowering women and bringing balance to life hand in hand. 

Until then, happy holidays and much love! :)

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