Ukraimpulse Deep Dive #1 Smart Water Ukraine

Ukraine Recovery 2024 / Monday, June 10, 2024 / 14:00 - 18:00 h / Berlin, Germany / SIB Startup Incubator Berlin / Siemens A32 

Event Recap

Smart Water Ukraine

Sustainable and innovative water management is increasingly recognized as a foundational element in addressing climate change and building resilience. In the context of Ukraine's defense and recovery, innovative and progressive solutions for utility and water management are gaining even greater momentum.

Since 2022, Ukrainian infrastructure has been subjected to severe attacks. The supply of water and drinking water to the population and industry in contested and destroyed areas plays a vital role in sustaining life. The situation requires innovative solutions as well as international support.

The process of Ukraine's accession to the European Union, along with the European Green Deal, presents opportunities to greatly accelerate the development of sustainable and resource-conserving technologies and solutions in Ukraine and to position Ukraine as a leader in sustainability.

In this process, both proven and new technologies and innovations play a crucial role. Crucial to success will also be how effectively local innovations, businesses, and institutions can be supported. To achieve this, bridges must be strengthened or built between public institutions, research and education, NGOs, private companies, startups, and investors.

The event Ukraimpulse: Smart Water Ukraine @Startup Incubator Berlin brought together Ukrainian and German experts and practitioners in the field of Smart Water to discuss development and collaboration potentials.


👉 For a detailed agenda, please visit the event website on eventbrite:

Event Recap (11.06.2024)

Inspiring guests, panels, and speakers - and a real deep dive into the water tech world. How to turn resilience into innovation and jobs: Here comes our summary of 12 selected key findings:

  1. Access to clean drinking water is a human right. Destruction of infrastructure in Ukraine, like the Kakhovka Dam, has caused humanitarian disasters. 
  2. A stable supply of drinking water depends on the availability of electricity.
  3. Electricity, heat, and water were politicized and subsidized in the past (Soviet legacy), complicating modernization and investments. Russia's war on Ukraine is changing Ukrainian views on resources, including water.
  4. Future water management should avoid large, centralized plants, favoring decentralized approaches with local ownership and international partnerships.
  5. Price increases for customers are inevitable, adding pressure on Ukraine's social situation.
  6. Developments in Ukraine create momentum for innovative solutions in securing critical infrastructure, offering competitive advantages even on international scale.
  7. Developing water technologies and enterprises requires patience in development and market entry.
  8. Startup perspective: Investors must prioritize sustainability and resource management over financial indicators. Without suitable investors, startups prefer a bootstrap approach.
  9. Municipal management in Mykolaiv is adapting successfully. Effective management, including English proficiency, is key for international partnerships. Mykolaiv has established an innovative development partnership with Denmark.
  10. Platforms like the Mykolaiv Water Hub are crucial for local innovation (and jobs), international networking, and technology transfer.
  11. One example for sustainable investments in water in Ukraine is Berlin-based Boreal Light. The company designs and manufactures affordable solar water desalination systems for off-grid communities around the globe. In October 2023, Boreal Light completed the installation of the largest European solar-based desalination plant in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. The plant works with a capacity of 125.000 litres of drinking water per hour.
  12. Ukrainian enterprises, including tech startups in Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, continue to operate, with some relocating parts of the enterprises to western Ukraine or Poland for risk management.

Panelists and Speakers

Mr. Oleksandr Syekevych, Mayor, City of Mykolaiv (Ukraine) Oleksandr Syenkevych is the mayor of 👉 Mykolaiv, Ukraine. He was first elected in 2015 and reelected in 2020, making him the youngest mayor of a major urban center in the country. Before his political career, Syenkevych co-founded and served as the director of the Quadrologic IT company. In 2014, he founded the public organization "Holos Hromady" (Voice of the Community) to actively engage in Mykolaiv's civic life.Ms. Hanna 

Slobodyanyuk-Montavon, CEO, Mykolaiv Water Hub (Ukraine) Hanna founded the 👉 Mykolaiv Water Hub in 2021. She is also an Advisor to the Mayor of Mykolaiv (Ukraine) on Reconstruction and Economic Development. Hanna has extensively worked with international development organizations, including GIZ and KfW.

Mr. Ali Al-Hakim, Co-Founder and CTO, Boreal Light GmbH (Germany) 👉 Boreal Light GmbH is a Berlin-based company specializing in renewable energy solutions for water treatment facilities. The company designs and manufactures affordable solar water desalination systems for off-grid communities around the globe. In October 2023, Boreal Light completed the installation of the largest European solar-based desalination plant in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

Dr. Myhkailo Yatsyuk, Director of the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, NAAS National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine Founded in 1929, main tasks of the institute include the development of technologies and equipment for irrigation, sewerage and protection from harmful effects of water, regulation and managment of water resources. The 👉 NAAS institute is also engaged in the design of water management systems, development of drinking water supply technologies, development of information technologies for irrigation and drainage management. Dr. Yatsyuk focuses on the development of legislative and regulatory acts in the field of water management, improvement of integrated water management based on the basin principle, monitoring of water quality, scientific substantiation of measures to protect against the harmful effects of water.

Mr. Torsten Wöllert, Energy Counsellor, EU Delegation, Kyiv (Ukraine) Before joining the EU Delegation in Kyiv in 2020, he led the Energy & Environment Team of the European Commission's Support Group for Ukraine in Brussels. He has worked extensively on energy and human security, low carbon technologies, and sustainable livelihood systems. He is currently involved in guiding EU support for Ukraine, including the Ukraine Facility.

Ms. Ira Ganzhorn, Humanitarian Aid Officer, Libereco - Partnership for Human Rights (Germany, Switzerland)
Before joining 👉 Libereco in 2022, Ira Ganzhorn had extensive experience working in humanitarian aid and education related to Eastern Europe. Founded in 2009, Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights is an independent German-Swiss non-governmental organization dedicated to the protection of human rights in Belarus and Ukraine. Since 2014, Libereco has provided humanitarian aid in Ukraine with local partners. Activities in this field include medical care, clean drinking water, and electricity.

Ms. Julia Egel, Advisor for International Programs, German Water Partnerhip (Germany) At 👉 German Water Partnership, Julia Egel is in charge of the Regional Section Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) as well as the pilot project “Sustainable Utility Partnerships”, financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In addition, she oversees the Working Group Operation & Capacity Development. German Water Partnership stands out as the premier network in the German water sector with a strong international focus, bringing together approximately 300 companies, trade associations, and institutions from business, science and research.

Bohdan Vorobiov, Ph.D, CEO, Optysun (Ukraine) Bohdan Vorobiov is the CEO of 👉 Kharkiv-based Optysun. The Kharkiv-based startup makes water purification equipment. One of Optysun’s products is a mobile water purifier that uses ultraviolet rays to kill bacteria. Constructed from durable stainless steel, it features a built-in UV LED emitter that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria in 15 minutes. It provides "Disinfection" and "Storage" modes and seamlessly integrates with mobile devices through low-energy Bluetooth. In January 2024, Optysun received the prestigeous  👉 Innovation Honoree Award at CES Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Dr. Veronika Zhiteneva, Group lead, Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (Germany) Dr. Veronika Zhiteneva is an environmental engineer specializing in water and wastewater treatment. In 2016, she began her doctoral research on the risk assessment of water reuse systems at the Technical University of Munich. Since completing her doctorate in 2020, she has been working as a research scientist and project manager with the Process Innovation team at the 👉Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin.

Mr. Marius Lauer, Head of Sales, SWIS GmbH (Germany) 👉 SWIS (Sustainable Water Infrastructure Solutions) is a pioneering company dedicated to providing sustainable and innovative water infrastructure solutions. SWIS AI-powered tools revolutionize planning of sustainable urban drainage systems by leveraging advanced algorithms from sewer systems hydraulics, graph theory, and artificial intelligence.

Mr. Sebastian Schwenke, CEO, BACB Business Angels Club Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. (Germany) With more than 140 members, 👉 BACB is one of the largest regional business angel networks in Germany and Europe. Since 2018, Sebastian has been a member of the investment committee of BACB Bet. mbH and acts as an early-stage investor with FOBS Bet. mbH. Since February 2021, he has been CEO of BACB. In 2022, BACB had launched the Angels for Ukraine initiative. Sebastian is co-founder of Ukraimpulse Ventures.

Mr. Marvin Göldner, CEO, Startup Incubator Berlin (SIB) of HWR Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany)
Mr. Marvin Göldner is the Co-Head of the 👉 Startup Incubator Berlin (SIB), the entrepreneurship center of the 👉 Berlin School of Economics and Law. Leveraging his own experiences as a successful founder, Marvin Göldner supports early-stage startups and leads a team of 12 employees at the SIB. The SIB assists founders from the ideation phase to market entry by offering free coworking space, coaching, mentoring, and equity-free scholarships.

Mr. Stefan Schandera, CEO, Gigahertz Ventures (Germany)

👉 Gigahertz Ventures is a Dresden-based business angel syndicate focusing on hardware and deep tech founders and startups. Stefan has over two decades of experience working in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In 2022, Gigahertz Ventures extensively supported humanitarian emergency relief in Ukraine through the 👉 “Bus-loads of Hope” initiative. Gigahertz Ventures is co-founder of 👉 Ukraimpulse Ventures.


Ukraimpulse Ventures is an initiative of Business Angels Club Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. (BACB) and Gigahertz Ventures GmbH that aims to support the reconstruction of Ukraine by establishi ng bridges between Ukrainian and European business angels and early-stage investors.

Mykolaiv Water Hub (MWH) brings together the strengths and expertise of municipalities, water utilities, companies, startups and universities to grow the South of Ukraine into a leading region for water-related industries, research and education.

Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (KWB) stands for applied science, consulting and innovation. We are resolute in addressing crucial future issues including climate change, water crises, digitalisation, sector coupling, and urbanisation with dedicated research, practical solutions and inventive services.

German Water Partnership (GWP) stands out as the premier network in the German water sector with a strong international focus, bringing together approximately 300 companies, trade associations, and institutions from business, science and research.

Berlin Partner works on economic growth, promotes business, technology and innovation, and presents the advantages of the capital to companies, investors and talents. Berlin Partner supports companies and scientific institutions that are already established in the region in their expansion plans and connects them within the strong Berlin Partner network. In addition, Berlin Partner's experts provide information on funding opportunities and advise on the search for suitable locations or highly qualified personnel.

The Startup Incubator Berlin (SIB) is the start-up centre of the HWR Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (Berlin School of Economics and Law). It supports early stage founders by means of entrepreneurial know-how, a location with unique infrastructure, access to professional and academic networks as well as non-refundable financial grants.


Startup Incubator Berlin / Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin / A32 Entrepreneurs Forum Berlin Siemensstadt /Rohrdamm 88 / 13629 Berlin, Germany

The Startup Incubator Berlin is located at the Berlin "Zukunftsort" Siemensstadt Square, just a few steps away from the U7 subway station Rohrdamm.


👉 For further information, please contact Stefan Schandera (Gigahertz Ventures).


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