A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5,000 people working in Russia and abroad.

The Foundation works alongside various UN departments and other international organizations, and is building multi-format cooperation with 173 economic partners, including industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions, financial, trade, and business associations from 78 countries worldwide, and 179 Russian public organizations, federal and legislative agencies, and federal subjects.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian t.me/Roscongress, English – t.me/RoscongressDirect, and Spanish t.me/RoscongressEsp. Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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When, how, and from whom should a startup seek help?

Author: Dmitry Filatov, Head of Sistema_VC

Any startup support measure is not a cure-all for teething troubles. Still, the more access to external experience, sources of growth, and ready answers a startup has, the lower is the risk of ruining the company with a chance mistake.

Startup incubators and mentors

In a situation when there’s no formulated concept of a new business nor an effective team yet, one of the best solutions is to avail yourself of the opportunities provided by startup incubators. These organizations «incubate» startups from scratch by helping entrepreneurs work out business concepts and gain experience and business contacts. The existence of startup incubators is a positive sign for the country’s ecosystem because incubators stimulate generation of ideas and give entry-level entrepreneurs a chance to apply and develop their skills.

At the next stage, when the business concept has been formulated, networking comes into play. Networking means communicating with other startups at the same stage of development or with more experienced entrepreneurs. Here, an advice from a mentor will come in useful. A mentor is an industry expert who is ready to share his or her experience in a systematic way, concerning both the development of the concept into a business and levelling up the founder’s personal competences.

Business angels and accelerators

At the stage of creating and testing a pilot version of the product or service, the problem of financing comes up, especially if the founder’s own resources are insufficient. A relatively small (but sufficient for testing a concept) amount of investment can come from business angels. Mostly often, business angels don’t require the legal side of the project to be well-developed but demonstrate a high level of engagement.

Then comes the most difficult stage when initial investments are made and the project is launched but it doesn’t generate any income yet. In Russia, the «valley of death» problem, as this phenomenon is usually called, is compounded by a lack of a system of experienced entrepreneurs who could suggest ways to deal with the situation. At this stage, a wise move is to turn your attention to business accelerators. These are launched by individual corporations to deal with specific business tasks. Unlike incubators, accelerators only accept ready teams and projects and help startups get out of the «valley of death».

Venture capital funds and late-stage investors

The next problem, that of achieving rapid growth, can be solved with the help of venture capital investors. At an early stage, the startup’s investor is often its largest client. Also, funds of the relevant stage (seed fund, growth fund, etc) will do. Venture investors can be found in related industries or at large technological conferences. The right investor should have relevant market expertise and should help the founder avoid typical mistakes.

Lastly, at the final stage, a startup goes through a classic «growth crisis». Here, help will come from investors specializing in unlocking demand growth. These are firms that possess technological expertise and experience in developing late-stage businesses. Unlike venture investors, direct investment funds don’t deal with risky companies whose technology hasn’t been tested on the market yet. They work with profit-making companies whose technologies have already proved that they are necessary for the market.
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