On 6 November, a panel on “Women’s Entrepreneurship as a Creative Economy Growth Driver” was held within the business programme of the 16th Russia–Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum organised by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Roscongress Foundation. The panel was coordinated by the Women’s Entrepreneurship Committee at Business Russia NGO (Delovaya Rossiya) and Kazakhstan’s Damu Fund.
The panel comprised four break-out sessions and was attended by successful women entrepreneurs from both countries. The discussion covered topics including policies to support women’s entrepreneurship, the role of women’s entrepreneurship in regional development, measures to support women’s entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan, as well as social entrepreneurship problems and aspects of building legislative support. The panel was moderated by representatives of both countries: Natalia Komarova, Chairwoman of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Committee at Business Russia NGO, and Lazzat Ramazanova, vice-chairman of the national chamber of entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan "Atameken".
“Promoting women’s entrepreneurship has been a global trend in recent years. Experience shows that women can be particularly effective in social areas, so it is critical for us to share experiences and success stories with other countries and inspire our women entrepreneurs to new heights. A thematic discussion at the Russia–Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum has become one such platform for interaction, like sharing current practices in managing women’s businesses, discussing effective support measures and new ideas – things that can become drivers for this area not only in Russia and Kazakhstan, but also globally,” said Natalia Komarova.
Participants in the discussion noted the importance of the Law on Social Entrepreneurship passed by the State Duma of the Russian Federation, which will become a directly applicable law not only enabling the maintenance of a social enterprise register but also legally formalising the very concept of social entrepreneurship. According to expert estimates, 60% to 90% of social businesses and projects are run by women.
Oksana Nabatchikova, deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Orenburg Region and Deputy Chairwoman of the Committee on Economic Policy, Industry, and Entrepreneurship, shared her views on women’s entrepreneurship as a source of ideas for the creative economy. According to her, women’s entrepreneurship is a trend of the 21st century and modern women are becoming increasingly active. The creative economy is a rapidly growing sector, just like social entrepreneurship, and both are driven by innovation. Social entrepreneurship is aimed not only at addressing social problems but also at supporting creative potential, and today any country will only win from supporting creative potential in entrepreneurship and the economy.
Kirill Semyonov, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board at SME Bank, discussed programmes to support women’s entrepreneurship in the banking sector. Bakhitzhan Samiyeva, Chairwoman of the North Kazakhstan Region chapter of the Association of Businesswomen of Kazakhstan, spoke about the undeniable role of social partnerships in the development of the North Kazakhstan Region, noting that the availability of multiple training programmes has become an important growth driver contributing to increasing numbers of individual entrepreneurs in the region.
Irina Serbina, Chairwoman of the Omsk-based regional NGO Centre for Social Area Innovation, spoke about success drivers for women’s entrepreneurship. According to her, moral support as a success driver is often as important as state, information, or financial support. Moderator Natalia Komarova (Business Russia NGO) contributed to the panel by presenting the programme “Using Public-Private Partnership Policy as a Driver of SME Projects in the Social Sphere”.
A separate cluster of cases presented at the panel focused on women’s social projects and their impact on society and social businesses. Participants in the panel discussed success stories such as a co-living hostel chain, the specialised travel company Liberty serving the disabled, Sleep Formula – a sewing factory making specialised bed linen for healthcare, children’s and health resort institutions, and many other successful projects.
The panel participants agreed that social entrepreneurship and women’s entrepreneurship have limitless potential, which will inevitable become a driver of positive change both for the economy and societal development in general.
The event’s image gallery is available at: https://yadi.sk/d/xiZRmzM0WrdLgw