The multifaceted Lviv is one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, receiving more than 2.5 million tourists annually. The city has an excellent geographical location and is closer to major European business centers (Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich) than other Ukrainian cities. And the local mentality is very close to the values of the citizens of the European Union.
Modern Lviv has a great potential for the digital economy, and is one of the three largest IT centers in Ukraine, along with Kyiv and Kharkiv. Lviv was the first Ukrainian city where the first formal IT cluster was founded in 2012. The most famous IT companies in Lviv include SoftServe, Eleks, large global corporations like IBM and Pearson have offices there, and there are branch offices of large outsourcing companies – Lohika Systems, EPAM Systems and GlobalLogic.
In 2010, the City Council recognized the IT industry as one of the most important economic areas for the local economy. After holding the European Football Championship in 2012, Lviv has significantly improved its infrastructure and a new airport began operations. The number of IT companies in Lviv grew 45% between 2018 and 2019, which was 1.5x faster than in the previous year (28%). The overall economic effect of the IT industry was $1.05B or 20.3% of Lviv’s GDP in 2018, and the industry’s revenue increased by 15% that year. In 2020, Lviv was recognized as the best city for business outsourcing in Central and Eastern Europe in the category of emerging cities at the annual Warsaw CEE Business Services Summit & Awards.
The Lviv IT Cluster association counts as its members 100 companies employing 18 thousand professionals. According to Lviv IT Cluster, the city currently has 461 specialized companies, 90% of which are focused on outsourcing services for European and American partners. In 2019, 25 thousand IT professionals worked in the city, which is about 15% of all IT professionals in Ukraine, with 46 thousand indirect jobs supporting them, at a ratio of 2 to 1. The average income of an IT worker is $ 1866, which is high compared to other industries in Lviv, but lower than in Kharkiv and Kyiv. The number of IT professionals in Lviv increased by 20% in 2019.
According to the annual comprehensive study IT Research 4.0 in 2019, technical specialists made up 80.4% of all IT professionals, of which 42% were Middle Level, and 30% Senior Level professionals. Most of them worked in smaller companies; 5 large companies with more than 1,000 employees each employed a total of 43% of IT specialists in the city.
Seven higher education institutions in Lviv train IT professionals in various fields, with the main ones being the National Polytechnic University of Lviv and IT Step University. Every year, the city’s universities graduate more than 4,000 new IT professionals. There are also educational institutions that train professionals exclusively for the IT field, the most important ones include: SoftServe IT Academy, KROK Academy, Lviv IT School and Eleks University. Additionally, IT professionals participating in the IT Future educational initiative visit Lviv schools encouraging high school students to study information technology.
In Lviv there are many IT-related meetups, events, workshops, and courses, for example, PLLUG Community, GDGLviv, IT talk, Lviv StartUp Club, IT Weekend, JDayLviv. In the fall, one of the largest technology conferences in Ukraine – the Lviv IT Arena – takes place in Lviv, bringing together more than 2,500 developers, designers, top managers, entrepreneurs, business analysts and startups. Annual conferences for top managers of IT companies – Lviv Outsourcing Forum, as well as Lviv IT Jazz, GDG DevFestUkraine, ProductCamp Lviv – bring together participants from around the world. Coworking spaces, such as Factory Coworking Lviv, Iteahub, iHub, Communa, Mitskevych, offer meeting spaces for the IT community.
Lviv features a great investment climate and positive dynamics for the development of the IT industry. It is worth noting that the first housing projects in Ukraine targeting the members of the IT community – IT House and IT Village – started in Lviv. The Lviv IT Cluster and Gallery Center also launched the Innovation District IT Park project – a technopark for the Lviv IT industry with offices, a university building with modern facilities, a hotel, a shopping center with a large food court, sports facilities and a child care. The commissioning of the campus is planned for Q3 of 2020, and that of the hotel, in Q4 of 2020. Furthermore, the UDP development group, which has already implemented a number of successful projects in Kyiv, is currently building the LvivTech.City, a social and technological hub providing a comfortable space for resident companies to focus and grow.