The First Moscow Forum of Entrepreneurs paid special attention to events dedicated to the new developing entrepreneurial branches including socially-oriented business. Thus, speakers shared their experience in launching and developing socially significant projects at the session titled ‘Social Entrepreneurship: Business With a Human Face. Stories of Small and Large Breakthroughs’. Galina Volkova, Director General of the universal design studio called ‘Ortomoda’, told about the origin and development of this company. 

Being a footwear designer, Ms. Volkova came to an idea of creation of a socially-oriented project when people with special needs started consulting to her. People with diabetes, valgus deformities of the feet, and other disorders wanted to look stylish. However, they had to wear special footwear that often looked cumbersome and unattractive. To address those people’s needs, Galina Volkova decided to launch the production of orthopedic footwear, which would not only be comfortable, but also would look fashionable. That is how the ‘Ortomoda’ company appeared. It produces footwear under individual orders paying attention to anatomic specificities of their clients. The company seeks to automatize the production process by means of applying innovation technologies. 


For instance, 3D foot scanning is used to make the best model of the future product. The factory is equipped with special machines painting footwear automatically. Thanks to that, the shoe making process is maximally fast. According to Ms. Volkova, the company has a special approach to children’s footwear. The children draw shoes they would like to wear. After that, the company’s designers visualize their sketches by means of computer programmes. 

Another direction of activities by ‘Ortomoda’ related to adaptive clothing for people with disabilities. The company’s jackets, overalls, raincoats, mackintoshes, and coats are easy to put on and contribute positively to self-care. 


However, Ms. Volkova says, she would not call production of clothing and footwear for people with disabilities a social business. Her company also provides persons with disabilities with special working places. Galina Volkova believes that is the thing that makes her company a socially-oriented business. The problem of employment of people with disabilities is extremely relevant today. It is decent job and success in the professional field that make any person feel a full member of the society in which he or she lives. Understanding that, social entrepreneurs struggle against stereotypes concerning working capacity of people with disabilities and work hard to solve the existing problem of such people’s employment. 

Often women entrepreneurs do that. They aim not only at moneymaking but also at overcoming the social inequality. Ms. Volkova, belonging to such kind of initiative women, says she doesn’t view business participants on the basis of gender. However, she stresses that women have a huge role in social entrepreneurship. 


According to Galina Volkova, the mission of women includes not only creation of social projects and solution of socially significant problems, but also family life. “My colleagues often pay me a compliment on how rapidly my factory grows. I reply that this is not the reason of my happiness. When I sit at the table and see my children, grandchildren, sisters, nephews, and all of them are so clever, beautiful, successful, kind, charming and loving one another, I understand I am really happy”, she said. 

Ms. Volkova wishes all women to be happy, to live in harmony with themselves, and always to achieve the goals they have. “When you set yourself ambitious goals, gradually get closer to reaching them, and finally achieve what you planned, you become happy thanks to realizing your dream”, she said. 

Kristina Danilina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov