NINJA Ukraine Acceleration Program
What is NINJA
Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA) is a 12-week, equity-free, global startup acceleration and innovation initiative sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The program is specifically designed for pre-seed / seed startups with an international mindset, strong product-market solutions, early revenue traction and aspirations of rapidly scaling up. Hosted by UNIT.City, Startups will secure a space in NEST for the length of the program.

The goals of the program are:
Strengthen the Ukrainian economy through developing its local startups
Promote and grow locally developed innovations
Support international (Asia / Japan) market access
Build international investor networks and fundraising opportunities
Strengthen international ties between Japan and Ukraine in areas of innovation and entrepreneurship
Program Approach
Our program combines international expertise from US mentors and Japanese partners with local experts from the Ukrainian ecosystem. Delivering a broad perspective and global insight blended with local know-how.

Program Participants will benefit from:
Interactive Offline/Online lectures with International and Local mentors
1-on-1 Mentorship Sessions
Sales Pitch Development
Engagement and networking opportunities with the startups community and program partners
An in-person Demo Day live-streamed to an international audience, including Japanese corporates and investors
Eligibility criteria for startup participants
The Team teachable
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is developed
Early Market Traction (Clients, Revenue)
Intent to expand into International / Asia / Japan Markets
26 November 2021
Application opens
20 December 2021
21 December 2021
Pre - selection
27 December 2021
28 December 2021
17 January 2022
Program starts
15 April 2022
Demo Day
Benefits for startups:
Focused entrepreneur education on key aspects of business management delivered by industry experts and startup builders
Dedicated mentorship from experienced industry experts to stress-test and enhance pitch-readiness for startups to reach the next level of growth
Exposure and access to Asian and Japanese investors through networking opportunities and Demo Day
Connect with Startups and Corporates in Japan to uncover strategic opportunities for expansion
Plug into the NEST Community in UNIT.City
Fully subsidized participation in an equity-free acceleration program
Dominique Piotet
CEO UNIT.City, Digital transformation expert and leader
Dominique is also a successful entrepreneur, with one exit, a Limited Partner in a VC Fund in Silicon Valley (The Refiners) with more than 50 investments in the portfolio, a startup mentor and advisor and is part of several nonprofits as advisor and ambassador. Currently, Dominique is the CEO of UNIT City, Ukraine's first Smart City dedicated to innovation.
Rick Rasmussen
An Industry Fellow and Member of Faculty at the University of California, Berkeley
Rick serves as the Director of Startup Programs for the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology responsible for the creation of new programs centering on Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation. Mr. Rasmussen is a Silicon Valley native that has been part of five IPOs, exits amounting to over $12B, mentored over 1500 companies. He earned an EECS degree with highest honors from UC Berkeley.
Shigeru Handa
Director of Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte Ltd and a fund manager of a Africa focused VC Fund
Shigeru is a seasoned professional combined with early-stage investments and business development consulting experience in the private sector as well as international development, startup mentor and also contributes as a board member for startups.
Kiyotaka Miyazaki
Director of Europe Division, Middle East and Europe Department, JICA
Kiyotaka has been working in international development field for more than two decades. Since he joined JICA, he held various positions including Country economist in JICA Mongolia office, Senior Economist in Credit Risk Analysis and Environmental Review Department, and Senior Deputy Director for Cambodia.
Satoshi Sugimoto
Resident Representative, JICA Ukraine Office
Having held positions within JICA across 3 continents (Asia, Africa and Europe), Satoshi brings a wealth of experience in international development and economic infrastructure initiatives. Prior to his current role as the JICA representative to Ukraine, he led the JICA operations in Economic Infrastructure and Private Sector Development in Kenya.
Shingo Morihata
Senior Director, Private Sector Development Group, Economic Development Department, JICA
Shingo currently serves in the JICA Economic Development Department and oversees JICA's Project NINJA and KAIZEN initiatives in South and Central America as well as Africa. These projects promote entrepreneurship, innovation and creation of new business in emerging countries and share the Japanese approach to Quality / Productivity Improvement practices known as KAIZEN.
Valentina Rakitina
Head of Ecosystem UNIT.City