On April 29, in Kaliningrad, an unprecedented project of Russian development institutes for market of innovations and venture capital investment - Russian StartUp - was over. Starting March 18- April 29, 2013 RST Experts and mentors carried out meetings in 15 Russian regions, which were attended by more than 3,500 young entrepreneurs, scientists, authors of innovative high-tech projects and students of universities. For six weeks of the Russian StartUp Tour it was attended by journalists from 179 regional media, more than 500 publications were published, the project was supported by 9 media partners, while experts and speakers gave more than 150 interviews and comments. The “Polylog” Consulting Group carried out a full range of technical organization of events, as well as PR support for the entire tour.
The organizers of the Russian StartUp Tour were the “Skolkovo” Fund, the Zvorykinsky project, “RVC” in partnership with the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises in Science and Technology, Moscow School of Management “Skolkovo”, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltekh), CJSC “VTB Capital”; Technopark “Skolkovo”, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI), the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR), a leading business accelerator of Finland Startup Sauna; the Federal competition of university technology projects “Technovation Cup”. The project was implemented with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation, the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs.
Over 600 projects
To participate in the training activities of the Russian StartUp Tour regional startups received over 600 innovative projects, 146 projects underwent presentations and discussion on coaching - sessions. Start-up teams of these projects have been invited to participate in the activities of the federal organizers and of the partners of Russian StartUp Tour; many of the startups - offers from development institutions for further promotion and funding attracting.
The geography of the Russian StartUp Tour spread throughout Russia from East to West, and the experts visited the following cities: Naberezhnye Chelny, Ufa, Tyumen, Omsk, Samara, Vladivostok, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Astrakhan, Kaluga, Belgorod, Kaliningrad.
Managers of our company carried out the logistics of the experts and their transport arrangements, inviting participants to the event, technical equipment of the halls and building sites, catering, printing materials, communications with the regional authorities, and more.
The most important result of the Russian StartUp Tour was the formation of start-ups communities in the regions, aimed at bringing together young talented entrepreneurs and creators of innovative projects, investors, technology parks, the region’s leading universities and research institutes.
Mentors evaluated projects based on the generic market criteria, but each institution could find their interest in the regions. Sergei Blintsov, the head of Zvorykinsky project, said that according to the results of the Russian StartUp Tour at least 15 of the projects had been submitted this year would receive assistance within the framework of the Zvorykinsky project in the form of training, examination, and takeoff micro-grants. Projects at the seed stage, which were recognized prospective for venture investment will be funded by FPI “RVC” after further examinations. Individual companies are invited to become “Skolkovo” residents. “We left our contact details to some participants, but we will call the authors of the most interesting startups on arrival in Moscow. If the project is “living”, “hot”, you need to finance it without losing time to look for investors, business angels, before others take the idea”- said Mikhail Kharuzin, Investment Manager of the FPI “RVC”.
Deputy Minister for Communications and Mass Media Mark Shmulevich, who worked together with experts from Russian StartUp Tour at the sites of the Russian cities, says that “Russian StartUp Tour has given a new impetus to the development of entrepreneurship in all technological areas in Russia. Promoting entrepreneurship in high-tech fields, especially in the field of IT, - is an extremely important area for the state. We need to involve as many young people as possible in the process of creating high-tech businesses. It is important to give young people an understanding of their opportunities at the initial stage of choosing their career. And the Russian StartUp Tour, of course, fit into this concept. However, it should be only one of a series of events that will engage young people in the development and commercialization of innovations”.
Summing up the results of the project, the headliner of the Russian StartUp Tour, Advisor to the President of the “Skolkovo” Fund Pekka Viljakainen noted how much things had changed in the Russian regions in the five years since he first had started working with Russian startups: “There was not a city that would not surprise us by anything – wonderful projects, active startup community, a strong academic base and infrastructure. But most importantly – the interest in innovations increased among young people. In each city, we were met by full halls of young entrepreneurs, we have given more than 150 interviews and commentaries to regional journalists, we have answered more than 400 questions from the audience, and all of these issues have been practical, professional, aimed at a particular result. We could feel the motivation of people to shape their own future, regardless of where they live, and initial conditions”.