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The Ecosystem of Innovative and Creative Entrepreneurship: from Education to Successful Startups
25 May 2018
16:30—17:45
KEY CONCLUSIONS
In terms of innovation level of the economy Russia lags behind other countries

According to The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Russia is not in the top ten (leaders of innovation development - Ed.), nor in the countries that are now approaching the top ten. Even India and Indonesia may turn up to be more innovative than we are. Only 7.3% of Russian organizations actively use new technologies and innovative approaches against 55% in Germany. We do not even stand next to the leading innovative economies — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Board, Centre for Strategic Research Foundation.

There are examples of successful innovation companies in Russia

There are a few examples of successful Russian companies. Yandex and Mail.ru are both on the list of Russian non-oil companies with a capital of exceeding USD 1 billion. <...> It is believed that in Avito we have a unicorn, even though Swedish entrepreneurs have created it. Its capitalization is estimated at USD 2.4 billion — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Board, Centre for Strategic Research Foundation.

The Ultimate Guitar, for example, is an application created in Kaliningrad. This is the most downloaded application for guitarists in the world. Bitrix is one of the twenty best IT companies in our country — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.

You have good examples in Russia. One illustration that I really like is HUDWAY. This is a start-up originating in Siberia. People created an application that could help people improve safety when using a phone while driving. 90% of their business brings them profit outside Russia — Meir Brand, Vice-President, Google Inc..

Russia has an infrastructure for successful start-ups to emerge

Last year, the president signed a number of amendments to the legislation on the Special Economic Zone in Kaliningrad. Now, all you need is a million roubles in your pocket and you can register an IT or a scientific company and get all our benefits. <...> This gave an effect: 31 residents for 4 months - this is more than the our SEZ got annually in its best years! Among them 10 residents are IT companies with a volume of investments of 5-6 million roubles only — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.

I decided to do business in order to increase the number of successful entrepreneurs. With that in mind I created two business clubs with Oscar Hartmann, both based on the model of where the successful entrepreneurs are instructing prospective entrepreneurs. 30 residents who are in this club doubled their business — Igor Rybakov, Co-Founder, Member of the Board of Directors, Rybakov Foundation.

We launched a project called Masters of Russia, together with the Gazprom Neft and the social investments programme called Native Cities. The project contains a set of various outlets: it's an online media, a platform for online interaction, a platform for hybrid education, internships, and so much more — Nonna Materkova, Director, Founder, Calvert 22 Foundation.

Between 2011 to 2016 the Skolkovo Foundation brought 147 billion roubles to the Russian economy (start-ups and companies that are residents-Ed.), in addition to 1200 patents that have been registered — Ilya Sachkov, Founder, General Director, Group-IB .

Almost 15% of Skolkovo companies sell their products to international markets. We are constantly improving the support our mechanisms. Skolkovo had a large "hard" infrastructure, there was an industrial park. We are actively promoting our companies and accelerating them to large state-owned companies, companies that are our industrial partners — Sergey Krzhanovsky, Vice President for Grants, Expertise and Tenders, Skolkovo Foundation.

Innovation economy success factors: education, investments and business culture

What are the success factors in an innovative economy? The first is the question of education. The second aspect is access to capital, which is well aware of the risks associated with innovation, investments from business angels, etc. But the most important success factor is the issue of the entrepreneurial culture and the culture of risk taking. You need to be prepared to play many times before you succeed. One needs to be mentality prepared — Meir Brand, Vice-President, Google Inc..

There are two factors that ensure innovations in the economy. The first is that there must be demand for innovation. We always put up a state “crutch”. It is needed, but it can not replace a market where there is no demand for innovation. The market should have a scale commensurate with innovation. The second condition is a high level of education and research — Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector, National Research University Higher School of Economics .

The task is to create a context that allows the maximum number of cities to develop. What is an innovative and successful city? First, we need a dynamically changing education system. Second, when speaking about economic ecosystems, they must be self-renewable. The third aspect is civil society — Blair Sheppard, Global Leader for Strategy and Leadership Development, PwC.

ISSUES
Education does not meet the needs of innovative business

We do not have a huge flow of those IT people the business needs. The degree and speed at which the higher education adapts to the needs of IT is catastrophically low. Theoretically, it is possible to forgo a university altogether to be an expert in this field. Most universities that offer this major do not even meet the requirements that employers have today — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.

Lack of pragmatism among Russian entrepreneurs

What is the difference between Russian start-ups and guys with innovative thinking in Southeast Asia? More pragmatism. Russian guys who develop venture ideas are more romantic. In international start-ups, I've seen a more focused approach. I often met with Russian innovative guys who tried to embrace many things at once. The third one is the readiness to lose, fix the mistake, and move on immediately. I did not meet Russian guys from the venture environment who are ready to acknowledge their negative result; they continue to struggle, to drag money — Kirill Androsov, Managing Director of Altera Investment Fund.

Deficiency of entrepreneurship culture in society

The culture of entrepreneurship is missing. If we really want that same ecosystem in Russia, we need to lay the foundation at schools and then develop that foundation using specialized knowledge in universities — Ruslan Yunusov, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Quantum Centre .

Brain drain

Russia ranks 4th among European countries in terms of the number of professional developers. Yet the lack of opportunities and a large number of barriers lead to an outflow of specialists from the country. Today it is believed that 70% of Russian developers are working for companies in the Silicon Valley — Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Board, Centre for Strategic Research Foundation.

SOLUTIONS
Defining priorities in innovation development

We must choose the areas where we want to seize the technological monopoly and create it. This is the only place where economic profit exists. If we keep hitting the science part or for example, subsidies for R&D again on a wide range, there’s no guarantee we will get anything at all — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.

Modernization of the higher education system

We need to support the development of research universities and ensure that we have at least one Russian university in the TOP 200 of each subject rating. <...> We need to transfer the network of innovative parks, business incubators, etc. created in the regions to regional core universities. About half of these innovative tools created in almost every federative subjects are filled with non-core businesses. It has nothing to do with innovation — Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector, National Research University Higher School of Economics .

If we look at Oxford, they have an old well-known system of tutorials, when a teacher works with two or three students. In order to create the same system in Russia, when a teacher infects students with an idea like ‘let's change the world’ first of all we need to free our teachers from this bureaucratic workload that now hangs on most of the universities — Maxim Bouev, Vice-Rector for Strategic Development, New Economic School .

Development of innovations in the sphere of creative industries

Part of the innovations that are accessible to us lies in the field of impressions economy: design, marketing, etc. We are doing well with this business, by the way. Because this market is not regulated, no one thinks to regulate it — Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector, National Research University Higher School of Economics .

There is a very strong growth of entrepreneurship in the field of creative industries among medium and small cities and among the initial stage of entrepreneurship: young people from 18 to 28 years — Nonna Materkova, Director, Founder, Calvert 22 Foundation.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS