Stanford Ignite Ukraine - CfE Accelerator

Stanford Ignite Ukraine

The CfE accelerator of the Ukrainian Catholic University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business invite 42 small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs from Ukraine to participate in the Stanford Ignite Ukraine program at one of the world’s best business schools.


Application process:  4/12 – 30/12
Duration: 7 weeks
Format: 4 weeks online, 3 weeks at the Stanford GSB campus
Deadline: December 30, 2023, 11:59 pm
Cost: Free of charge

About the program

Stanford Ignite Ukraine is designed to encourage the development of Ukrainian entrepreneurs by providing them with access to the best learning and networking resources from the business world. The program is designed to provide a comprehensive experience for participants, including a 3-week visit and intensive classes at the Stanford GSB campus under the guidance and mentorship of leading instructors.

The program’s ideological inspiration is Natalia Anon, a member of the UCU Foundation board, friend, and partner of UCU, who, after graduating from Stanford GSB, dreamed of sharing a similar experience with Ukrainians.

The program will provide fundamental tools from building business models and marketing to finance and design thinking. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained by working on team projects, which will be presented to investors, experts, and other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

04/12 – 30/12 23:59 – application submission
till 15/01 – selection of candidates
22/01-26/01 – group formation, signing of documents with candidates
29/01-12/02 – creation of teams and assignment of venture projects
19/02-15/03 – online part of the program
19/03-07/04 – offline part of the program at the Stanford GSB campus

The CfE accelerator aims to help Ukrainian small and medium-sized business owners grow, innovate, and improve their businesses through the experience gained in the program. As a result, it will increase their competitiveness in the global ecosystem and strengthen Ukraine’s economy.

Inspiring Ukrainian entrepreneurs to transform the future of Ukraine!

The Stanford Ignite Ukraine programme is organised by CfE accelerator in collaboration with the Stanford Graduate School of Business, with the support of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, the USAID Competitive Economy Programme and the Ukrainian Catholic University.

USAID Competitive Economy Program supports Ukrainian businesses to improve their competitiveness in Ukraine’s domestic and international markets, helps build a simplified and transparent business climate, and provides Ukrainian companies with opportunities to take advantage of international trade.



Support By:

Who can apply

Owners of small and medium-sized businesses who want to develop them, implement innovations, launch new products/services, scale up, attract investments, enter new markets, or have other growth ideas. This will be the main motivation for selecting participants.

According to the profile of the entrepreneur:

  • 3+ years of entrepreneurial experience;
  • Ukrainian citizenship;
  • Running a business in Ukraine;
  • English language proficiency – Upper Intermediate (B2), as the training is conducted exclusively in English. TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Certificate will be an advantage.

By business profile:

  • any manufacturing, product, or service company;
  • with a stable annual turnover;
  • a legal entity, an individual entrepreneur, LLC, PE, or other organizational and legal form registered in Ukraine;
  • companies with 8 to 249 employees;
  • is not located and does not carry out economic activities in the territories of active hostilities where state electronic information resources operate or temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation, included in the list of territories where hostilities are (were) conducted or temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation, approved by the Ministry of Reintegration, for which the date of completion of hostilities or temporary occupation has not been determined (to read the order of the Ministry of Reintegration, please follow this link);
  • has no pending litigation, no court restrictions, no arrears of taxes, fees, and mandatory payments to budgets of all levels. ​​

What are the main requirements

  • active participation and involvement in all program activities, including workshops, lectures from guest speakers, networking, mentoring sessions;
  • willingness to allocate 15-20 hours per week for the online part of the program;
  • Implementation of the acquired knowledge and experience in the existing business after completion of the training and further communication and submission of reports on the results within 6 months in order to compare and determine the impact of the program on the development of the enterprise.

19.02.2024 - 23.02.2024
Introduction to effective teams and identifying the value proposition

26.02.2024 - 01.03.2024
Refining the value proposition and conducting user interviews

11.03.2024 - 15.03.2024
Understanding the market. Towards product market fit

18.03.2024 - 22.03.2024
First elevator pitches for each venture. Faculty-led sessions on entrepreneurship, marketing/sales, accounting, and ideation.

25.03.2024 - 29.03.2024
Faculty-led sessions on finance, communication, and negotiations, as well as two guest speaker-led sessions.

01.04.2024 - 05.04.2024
Faculty-led sessions on competitive strategy, game theory, and communication bootcamp to improve individual communication skills. Final presentations with feedback from a panel of VCs and other industry experts.


What you will get




development of hard skills: from management, business model building, marketing to finance and design thinking


improving soft skills, such as negotiation, teamwork, public speaking, leadership, and idea pitching


Gaining tools on how to develop successful businesses and implement changes and innovations within them


years of experience of the Stanford Graduate School of Business ecosystem will teach you how to make mistakes effectively, overcome challenges in conditions of uncertainty, and minimize risks



presentations to investors, experts, and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley will give you an understanding of how to sell yourself, your product, your team and what to emphasize depending on who you are communicating with


familiarity with other approaches to doing business, with the rules of the broader market, will be an impetus to rethink your own enterprise and its development guidelines


being among successful Palo Alto entrepreneurs will give you confidence in developing your own business and increasing its competitiveness in the international arena


interaction with other Ukrainian participants will improve teamwork skills, and the synergy of 42 ambitious Ukrainian entrepreneurs will inspire each other to grow together



networking among Ukrainian entrepreneurs participating in the program and among Silicon Valley leaders, resulting in the emergence of new partnerships


mentoring support from Stanford GSB faculty and business practitioners


Participants will become part of the Stanford GSB community and will be able to maintain ties with it after graduation


Ukrainian entrepreneurs will bring the knowledge and experience gained to their current teams and improve their own businesses



We Provide

  • total cost of the academic program at Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • flight from Warsaw to San Francisco to Warsaw
  • accommodation near the Stanford GSB campus in double rooms during the program

We organize

  • Assistance in obtaining a US visa
  • assistance with short-term travel permits
  • additional meetings with the Silicon Valley community in the final week


Our Benefits

One of the world’s best business schools

Stanford GSB alumni include CEOs of General Motors, eBay, Nike, and other leading business leaders

Training from leading Stanford GSB faculty members

access to the knowledge of professors who are Nobel laureates

Learning by Doing method

use of a method that combines knowledge acquisition and practical application during training

Networking with the Silicon Valley community

the opportunity to get feedback from investors, entrepreneurs, and experts and become part of the Stanford GSB community

Apply and gain experience that will transform Ukrainian business and its leaders

Description: Stanford Ignite Ukraine aims to become a bridge between Ukrainian entrepreneurs and the Silicon Valley community. The program aims to empower Ukrainian entrepreneurs to become those whose businesses will shape Ukraine’s future and change the world.



Can I apply to the program if I have previous business experience but now want to pursue a new venture?

No, you must have a functioning business at the time of filling out the application.

If my co-founder and I are from the same company, can we apply together?

You can apply, but only one person can be selected from each company.

How can I apply to the program?

You need to complete the application form [link] and wait for our response.

What expenses do I need to cover on my own?

You will have to cover your own travel expenses to Warsaw and back as well as incidentals in the USA (such as insurance, food, taxi, etc).

Will I receive a diploma or certificate after completing the program?

Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the Stanford Ignite Ukraine program.

Do I need to have at least 3 years of experience in the business I am currently applying with?

Not necessarily. Past entrepreneurial experience can also be considered. The important thing is that your application meets all the criteria stated above.

Who handles the selection process?

The selection of applications is carried out by an independent commission consisting of representatives of Stanford Ignite Ukraine program partners.

How can I get access to travel abroad for the offline part of the program?

The organizers of the program assist in obtaining a temporary permit to travel abroad to participate in the Stanford Ignite Ukraine program with a mandatory obligation to return to Ukraine within the terms specified in the document.

Can I apply to the Stanford Ignite Ukraine program without having a US visa?

If you do not currently have a US visa, the organizers will assist you in obtaining one (Please note that participation in our program does not guarantee the issuance of a visa. While we will provide support, the final decision lies with the relevant government authorities of the destination country. Factors such as individual circumstances, background checks, and immigration policies may impact the outcome of the visa application. We cannot be held responsible for any visa denials or delays. It is the responsibility of participants to fulfill the necessary requirements and provide accurate documentation as requested).

Do you provide assistance with filling out the Visa Applications?

No, participants are responsible for filling out their visa applications by themselves.


The estimated time required to fill out the application form is 40 minutes. The language of the application form is English.

Please note that you will be required to answer essay questions as well (100-300 words each):

Personal Entrepreneurial Journey
Explain why you chose this particular type of business and how your entrepreneurial journey led you to where you are today. Conclude with a reflection on why you should be selected for this Program, emphasizing your motivation and leadership qualities.

Achievements, Challenges, and Lessons Learned
From your personal experience, what is the greatest challenge and greatest achievement in business? What lessons did you learn from achieving the goal or failing? If you face new challenges, please speak to how the Program can help you resolve them?

Goals and Expectations, Motives and Drives
Outline your short-term and long-term business goals. Why do you believe the Program will empower you to achieve these goals? Conclude with why you are a perfect candidate for this Program.

The application process will remain open until December 30, 11:59 pm.
Every applicant will receive a response by January 15.

An independent commission conducts the selection process. Applicants may be requested for an additional interview if necessary. We reserve the right to reject an application without providing an explanation.



79000, Ukraine, Lviv
29 Stryysʹka str.

Office open hours - Thursday 2 pm - 5 pm.