How Ukraine and Scandinavian Countries Can Be Mutually Helpful


Recently our CEO Mykola Slobodian had visited Norway for a strategic business trip. It was organized in cooperation with Linda Oksnes from the Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (NUCC).

The main purpose of the visit was to get together with Norwegian companies and startups and discuss the state of IT outsourcing in Ukraine and Norway, define major touching points, priorities, and roadblocks. The ultimate goal of the discussion was to determine opportunities and possibilities for future cooperation.

Mykola Slobodian, CEO of The APP Solutions, speaking at NTUU Accel

During the discussions, Mykola and Norwegian colleagues had exchanged insights about local IT business environments (Ukrainian and Norwegian respectively) and talked about commonalities of various elements of work ethics between Norwegian and Ukrainian companies.

It turned out that Norwegian and Ukrainian companies have a lot in common in terms of company culture. Both sides appreciate proactivity and pay-first approach and embrace an open-minded approach to the development of new solutions.

One of the biggest takeaways from the discussions was the fact that prices for the services of local Norwegian developers are sky high and that they are mostly oriented to overseas markets. Another important factor is that Norway is lacking enough local resources.

That leaves Norwegian entrepreneurs looking for feasible outsourcing opportunities. Some turn to Indian companies due to low prices, yet, that experience is not always a pleasant one. On the other hand – despite the unstable economy, Ukrainian companies seem to be much more reliable partners due to the cost-benefit ratio. However, Norwegian companies still feel uncertain about full-fledged cooperation because of the limited word of mouth and exposure to credible outlets.

One of the key events of the Norway trip was the presentation at NTNU Accel, a university startup accelerator.

Mykola gave a public talk on the topic of selecting foreign outsourcing partners. The presentation titled “Insider’s Guide to Finding Outsourcing Partners” included a wide variety of tips, insights, and observations regarding the entirety of business operation from negotiations to project deployment. In his own words:

“I think this information can help startuppers to get well on their way in navigating the mad world of software development and not lose money in the process simply because they forgot to check something.”

Mykola Slobodian, The APP Solutions, and Linda Oksnes, NUCC

Linda Oksnes also prepared a comprehensive presentation about Ukraine as a web/mobile outsourcing destination. The reasons for that include:

  • Large capacity (Ukraine has one of the largest amounts of software developers in Europe)
  • High competence
  • Comparatively low price levels
  • 1-2 hour flight away from major European countries

Let’s hope that this trip will be something akin to what Neil Armstrong had said when he landed on the moon – one little step of CEO and a giant leap for the entire company in building a strong working relationship between Norwegian and Ukrainian companies.

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NUCC is a non-profit member organization. Their purpose is to facilitate trade and business cooperation between Norway and Ukraine.

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Norwegian Startups Matchmaking Organized by NUCC

Ukraine’s reputation as a reliable outsource partner with exquisite expertise and innovative approach is growing with each passing day. More and more foreign companies are visiting Ukraine in search of a company to do make their project a reality.

Case in point – recent visit of Norwegian startups for matchmaking.  


Here’s what happened. On April 16-18, the Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (NUCC) had brought a delegation of Norwegian companies and start-ups for a series of networking events in Kyiv. The catch is that these companies had never been in Ukraine and never used outsourcing services before. So it was both a trying to a new ground and establishing new relationships.

The main purpose of these events was to discuss business opportunities, possibilities of building working relationships between companies, the potential of the outsourcing market in Ukraine, comparison business environments in both countries and build bridges with a potential to grow into a successful long-term partnership between the companies in various fields of interest.

April 16 was dedicated to discussions and bringing everybody on the same page concept-wise. The main topics of discussion were outsourcing business and the way it is done in Ukraine and methods of cooperation. There were several presentations dedicated to outsourcing in Ukraine and specifics of the Ukrainian business climate.

Mykola Slobodian presenting Ukraine as a great outsourcing destination.

The APP Solutions CEO Mykola Slobodian was there with a presentation about how The APP Solutions works with startups. (As you know, he was in Norway recently, meeting with the businesses on their “own ground.”) Over the course of the presentation at the Kyiv IT Cluster, he explained the basics of international cooperation and secrets of overcoming cultural differences, showed examples of The APP Solutions projects, and told about how the company is establishing a business relationship, i.e. taking part in events and collaborating.

April 17 was all about B2B meetings between Norwegian and Ukrainian companies. Every meeting was a short and intense matchmaking session. Companies exchanged their visions of cooperation and discussed the most feasible and viable possibilities.

Among the things Norwegian companies were especially interested in were:

  • communication (especially level of English speaking among the managers and development team);
  • UI / UX approaches;
  • innovative technical solutions in the hot industries (AI, machine learning, chatbots, drones);
  • out of the box thinking;
  • cooperation options (extended model, dedicated team, etc).

Later that day there was also a meeting with an Ambassador Extraordinary And Plenipotentiary Of Norway To Ukraine Ole T. Horpestad with whom Ukrainian and Norwegian companies had discussed business environments in both countries.

On April 18th Kyiv IT Cluster held a masterclass by Karin Ellis, CEO of Ellis Culture, author of the book “Working with Norwegians”. During the workshop, she showed several case studies on the subject of cooperation with Norwegian companies on various levels and shared few thoughts about major stumbling blocks occurring while dealing with Norwegian companies.

Networking and matchmaking between Ukrainian and Norwegian companies

[Source: IT Ukraine Association]

Overall, this series of events shows that Ukraine becomes more and more lucrative as an outsourcing service provider.

The main takeaway is that Norwegian companies are genuinely interested in developing partnerships with Ukrainian companies – not only it is due to lower prices and geographical location but also because of expertise and eagerness to explore.

Anyway, it’s definitely the beginning of something really-really exciting. Stay tuned!

P.S. The APP Solutions is a member of the Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce.


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Results of NUCC Networking Meeting in Norway

On the 26th of January 2017, the Network Meeting of the Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (NUCC) took place. The event was hosted by KPMG.

Main topics that were discussed at the meeting:

  • The ongoing reforms in Ukraine will impact Ukraine`s business climate.
  • The specifics of operating in the Ukrainian market.
  • Laws and regulations Norwegian companies must be aware of when engaging Ukrainian labor forces.

The App Solutions team was the only representative of the Ukrainian IT community. Our Business Analyst got a warm introduction from the NUCC with all the members.

Watch the video to get more details.

An important takeaway about the benefits of Norwegian-Ukrainian IT-cooperation

  • Norway needs IT-competence. Today the storage of skilled IT-professionals is the main impediment to growth.
  • Ukraine is an attractive IT-destination. It has the largest pool of IT-professionals in Eastern and Central Europe. All the developers have high competence and a lower price level. An additional benefit is the proximity of Ukraine to Europe.
  • Due to the high cost of labor in Norway, there is a trend of total automation of all processes.

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