Creating university hubs of innovative, technological, and social development in the regions is the key focus of the Universities as innovative centres priority project, which was approved by the Presidium of the Russian Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects. In preparing to implement these objectives, stakeholders must discuss frameworks for cooperation between the business community, regional authorities, and universities; the involvement of the business community in setting goals and objectives for the development of these hubs; and the use of a professional public accreditation institute to accredit universities.
Social Infrastructure in the Regions: Cost or Investment?
The creation of social infrastructure is becoming an area of interest to entrepreneurs. Today, the practice of transferring the management of social infrastructure facilities to non-governmental organizations is gaining traction. A network of commercial healthcare facilities, schools, and kindergartens is developing within the country. How are successful businesses created in the social services sector, and is this a profitable area? What PPP tools are available at the regional level for the development of social infrastructure? How can social infrastructure be developed given the increasing demand for quality social services: should we rely on paid services or increase the role of the state?
According to official figures, women in Russia make up almost half, or 49%, of all workers in the economy. Women represent 43% of the heads of organizations. Promoting female entrepreneurship helps to increase employment, reduce unemployment, and improve the share of SMEs in the national economy. How can female entrepreneurs provide a new source of economic growth? What are the main obstacles to improving the entrepreneurial potential of women today? What is special about businesses that are managed by women?
Investment in human capital means, in particular, investment in the creation of a highly professional, mobile, motivated, and effective workforce that is able to have the greatest impact on the pace and quality of economic growth. New approaches to the continuing education system are focused on ways of ensuring that employees are able to obtain the new knowledge, skills, and competencies that are needed for a balanced employment market. What role does the state play in developing human capital? How can an independent qualification assessment system be implemented at the regional level? Who benefits from testing qualifications: workers or employers?
Advanced special economic zones (ASEZs) are being created to establish favourable conditions for attracting investment and developing comfortable living conditions for local populations. Tools that are used to achieve a balance in regional development can also be used to address a wide range of issues related to economic diversification. The incentives and benefits that are offered by these development tools are aimed at compensating businesses for the costs of investing in regions with low investment attractiveness. What initial outcomes have been achieved by resident companies that have established themselves in the ASEZs? What are the restrictions on the use of these mechanisms in Russia? Are the current incentives sufficient to attract investment to the regions?
One of the key elements of the strategic planning system established by Federal Law No. 172-FZ is the Strategy for the Spatial Development of the Russian Federation a fundamentally new document on management and planning practices in Russia which combines both strategic and regional planning approaches. The strategy defines the priorities, aims, and objectives for securing comprehensive development in Russias regions. It focuses on supporting a sustainable housing system throughout the country and overcoming infrastructural barriers restricting socioeconomic development. The first stage of developing the strategy was its concept: a document identifying the main approaches for the new spatial development of Russia. What possible scenarios will arise from further spatial development, and what are the long-term effects of these scenarios? How can balanced spatial development be ensured? Are there any substantial challenges related to a national housing system? How can an organization working in this field influence the quality of investments?
The New Urban Economy: Creative Capital and Effective Planning
Clearly, for any modern city to enjoy sustainable growth and compete on the global stage, an innovative and creative sector is a prerequisite. A creative economy emerges following a post-industrial shift marking the transition from an economy producing goods to one producing information and knowledge.
Today, creative industries are leading the way when it comes to international trade. Statistically, it is a sector that displays impressive growth throughout the world, even at a time of economic crisis. In addition to unlocking a citys economic potential, creative industries also facilitate growth in human capital. In turn, once the number of creative people with unique talents and skills reaches critical mass, an impetus is created that continues to feed economic and cultural progress. A pilot version of a creative capital index has been developed. This will reveal the features of the creative and innovative sector and the specific aspects of the institutional environment that influence the speed at which post-industrial economies emerge in the most dynamic regions of Russia. What impact does creative capital have on the development of a regions culture, economy, and urban planning? What role will the innovative and creative sector play in the economy over the coming years? How will the growth of creative industries impact a citys attractiveness to investors? How can creative companies based in the Russian regions become successful global players?
The development of single-industry municipalities has been identified as one of the main strategic directions for the Russian Federation until 2025 and consequently, the Russian Government is working to implement a priority programme focused on the integrated development of single-industry towns. The goal is to ameliorate the acute socioeconomic situation plaguing single-industry towns, caused by the layoff of workers by the major enterprises which dominate the towns, limited infrastructure, and the low investment attractiveness of these areas. How can we stimulate the creation of new jobs that are not related to the activities of the former core enterprises of these cities? What factors are hampering an increase in the investment attractiveness of these single-industry towns? What state support tools are the most effective for supporting single-industry towns? Is the economic structure of these single-industry towns changing together with the changing economic situation?
EAEU: The Single Market and New Rules for Investors
When deciding on whether to launch a project, investors analyse many factors that will influence its financial performance. The choice of jurisdiction plays a crucial role for large investment projects. Decision-makers have to account for all possible incentives and inherent difficulties. In order to overcome current challenges, the Eurasian integration initiative must develop a common competitive proposition for investors. Is competition between jurisdictions a good thing or a bad thing? Does the Eurasian Unions existing legal framework meet the requirements of investors? Will the implementation of joint large-scale projects help to establish common rules and make it easier to attract capital?
The decision to introduce film commissions and grant rebates to film producers from around the world is an effective way to promote the regions as competitive locations for the production of films and television series as well as to attract investment and create new jobs. To what extent will mechanisms to stimulate the film industry attract investment to the regions? What can the Russian film industry offer the regions? What other mechanisms are needed to develop the Russian film industry? What should be done to attract foreign filmmakers to Russia?
A large number of national and regional state development institutes providing support to companies from different sectors and regions of the country have been established. Considerable experience of providing appropriate services and selecting applicants has been accumulated. Active cooperation between institutes at the national level to offer comprehensive support at all stages of business development is under way.
How can the effectiveness of development institutes be improved at the national and regional levels? How can cooperation and coordination between development institutes be established? Who sets the goals and objectives for these institutions?
Regional support centres for gifted children and young people: collaboration between business, the scientific community, and the government in developing science and technology in Russia
A network of centres to identify and support gifted children is to be developed throughout Russia, building on the experience of the Talent and Success Foundation and incorporating the assistance of leading educational establishments. The aim is to provide a national system of support for these young people in order to implement Russias scientific and technological development strategy and achieve the countrys main socioeconomic development objectives. The regional centres are being developed in accordance with Presidential Instruction No. PR-2346, clause 4b, and the Scientific and Technological Development Strategy of the Russian Federation (approved by Presidential Decree No. 642, dated December 1, 2016). The aim is to establish 85 centres in the period between 2017 and 2022. Leading Russian companies, scientific groups, and innovative regions must agree a model for working with gifted children which meets the challenges of identifying and developing the talent of as many children as possible throughout the Russian Federation. The session will provide an opportunity to agree the overall strategy and principles for identifying resources to enable the most effective implementation of these objectives: the development of gifted young people and their inclusion in the Russian employment market within the high-tech science and technology sector.
One of the key barriers hindering the export growth of SMEs is a lack of financial resources. To minimize the risks associated with entering foreign markets, it is essential to support not just SMEs but also regional banks which offer assistance for export projects. Why are SME exports needed, and are they advantageous for market participants? How can risks be reduced for banks and the volume of regional exports increased? What difficulties do regional banks encounter in providing services to smaller exporters, and how can existing financial instruments be used effectively to attract finance for the export projects of small and medium-sized businesses?
Small businesses founded by young people are making a significant contribution to improving Russias socioeconomic development and solving youth employment issues. They are also very nimble in responding to consumer demand. They are masterful at producing small-scale, unique products or providing specific services to individual market segments. Young people are very good at keeping their skills up to date. Their knowledge is not yet obsolete. They stand out due to their creative thinking and ability to adapt, which has a positive effect on the competitiveness of their businesses. What do we need to do to produce a new generation of entrepreneurs? How can young people be encouraged to become entrepreneurs? Is there a system of state support for young people who want to start a business? What does todays young entrepreneur look like?
The Coming Economic Hierarchy: An Index of Preparedness for the Future
The Valdai Discussion Club and the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) have launched the Future Preparedness Index project. The aim is to assess the preparedness of countries to respond to the challenges of tomorrow, their role in future scenarios, their competitiveness with respect to a range of economic and political criteria, and the development of their industrial and social infrastructure. The project will also seek to determine Russias ranking among world powers. In the course of this session, an effort will be made to comprehensively assess how well prepared nations are for long-term global economic challenges according to a range of parameters. What is the shape of tomorrows economy, and what factors will determine competitiveness? What industries will become the engines of economic growth? What will the paradigm for macroeconomic policy in developed and emerging economies look like?
Over the past two years, the Russian tourism industry has undergone serious changes primarily due to the growth of domestic tourism. The modern tourism industry consists of hotels, restaurants, and tour companies as well as educational, health, entertainment, sports, and other services. Travel agents, tour operators, transport carriers, and others are all active in the industry. In total, the sector generates 1.5% of the countrys GDP, and has an impact on the development of 53 related industries. This opens up great opportunities for the growth of tourism as one of the key drivers of regional economic development. How can favourable market conditions be exploited to develop domestic tourism? What areas within domestic tourism should be prioritized for support? How does tourism affect the development of regional economies? How can the quality of tourist products be improved in the regions? What hurdles are inhibiting the development of tourism in the regions, and how can they be overcome? How can investors be attracted to the tourism industry?
Innovative Potential in Russia’s Regions: Drivers of Economic Growth
In recent years, the strategy for successful development pursued by the national economic systems of the leading countries has been closely linked to superiority in research and development, the emergence of new knowledge, and the creation of innovative mass-market products. We are increasingly hearing that innovation is an absolute priority when determining a growth strategy. Historically, Russia has been one of the worlds scientific powerhouses: Russian science and engineering have made significant contributions to the sum of humanitys body of knowledge and technology. Russia has established a network of innovative regions that are able to quickly acquire knowledge and create innovative products. How can the innovation life cycle be properly supported, and how can the outcomes of scientific research be used to advance regional socioeconomic development? What should the long-term regional scientific and technological development strategy look like, and who should lead it? How should cooperation between centres of new scientific knowledge and innovative regions be organized?