On December 6, Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Federation Council, had a meeting with women entrepreneurs, working on export-oriented projects. Businesswomen from all over Russia, who manage to offer their goods both in Russia and internationally alongside with creating positive image, participated in the event. 

According to Valentina Matvienko, the First Eurasian Women’s Forum provided a powerful impetus to the topic of women in economy. The Forum gave rise to forming a dynamic team that creates a brand-new, up-to-date women’s agenda. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, became a vocal supporter of such initiatives. By his order, the Government of the Russian Federation enacted the National Strategy for Women. One of its key directions is creating comfortable conditions for the women entrepreneurship development. 

As the Speaker highlighted, the Federation Council is working on the matter in accord with Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, All-Russian Public Organisation OPORA RUSSIA, and the Federal Corporation for the Development of Small and Medium Business. She said: “Specific educational and loan programmes for women entrepreneurs have already been implemented and now are used. Such projects, lines of action, and outcomes that contribute to women’s socioeconomic empowerment are the actual results of our meetings and discussions”. 


According to Mrs. Matvienko, the topic of women’s empowerment in entrepreneurship and securing sustainable development became one of the most important ones in the framework of global women’s agenda. That is driven by the fact, that half of the employed in global economy are women. Women generate 37% of the aggregate GDP. Alongside with that, women make the third of all the world’s entrepreneurs. 

Valentina Matvienko considers women-entrepreneurs of Russia highly skilled professionals. According to the statistics, 85% of women-entrepreneurs got higher education, and 40% got further one. The Speaker supposes, that “Over the last years, women entrepreneurship contributes more and more to solving country’s economic issues. For example, women launched 32% of all Russian manufacturing enterprises. Women successfully master IT, which is essential in the course of moving towards digital economy”. 


Mrs. Matvienko highlighted, that the Federation Council constantly monitors issues of small and medium business development. She said: “Several decisions, including legislative ones, were made, concerning improvements of government support system, developing opportunities of tax systems’ application for small enterprises, and reduction of administrative load for entrepreneurs”. 

Mrs. Matvienko supposes, that Russia has to actualise export capacity of its small and medium enterprises, including women’s ones. First steps are already taken. For instance, the Government of the Russian Federation enacted project charter of a priority project ‘Systematic Measures of Developing International Cooperation and Export’. It will decrease the costs incurred by exporters through eliminating excessive administrative barriers in such fields, as the customs sphere, export and currency control. Now a project identifying the principles of the state’s policy regarding this issue is in development stage. Moreover, now Russia has the Russian Export Centre, which has been operating since 2015. Valentina Matvienko stressed that such measures taken by the state led to the increase in Russian small and medium businesses acting as exporters. In fact, their number almost tripled. 


The range of women’s export-oriented projects was extremely broad. The participants of the meeting included women implementing projects in different fields of activity. Valentina Matvienko stressed the necessity of developing special educational programmes, participation of women in international exhibitions and subsidizing costs associated with certification and logistics to increase the number of such successful practices. According to her, development of cooperation and promotion of initiatives supporting women’s entrepreneurship by international organisations and associations are extremely important now. 


Developing women’s business and strengthening the role of women in economy will become one of the central topics of the agenda of the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum. For the first time, special sessions and sections of authoritative international organisations including BRICS Women's Business Club, Women 20, APEC, and UNIDO will take place in the framework of the Forum. 


Nadiya Cherkasova, Chairperson of Committee for Development of Women’s Entrepreneurship of the All-Russian Public Organisation OPORA RUSSIA, also presented her report dedicated to the current work on developing systematic tools. She provided the listeners with examples of direct targeted support of women entrepreneurs, including in regions. She stressed the growing attention of the state and public organisations to the topic of women’s entrepreneurship and the importance of regional factor in supporting women’s business activities. 

In other report, Peter Fradkov, CEO of the Russian Export Centre, paid attention to external markets. According to him, gaining access to external markets is one of the key competitive performance criteria. In his opinion, women entrepreneurs implementing export-oriented projects turn into growth drivers of Russian non-resource exports. The task of the Russian Export Centre is to provide these women with comprehensive assistance and support.


Anna Nesterova, founder of a Russian cross-border electronic trade platform Global Rus Trade, was the next speaker. This platform allows exporting goods, including those of small businesses, into external market, such as Latin American countries, Southeast Asia and the BRICS countries. 

Elena Zaitseva, the only Russian woman being a head of an export marine terminal, shared interesting experience in implementing export-oriented project. Natalia Larchenko, founder of the brand of designer jewelry, accessories and gifts ‘Matryoshka’, Elena Lelitsyna, founder of the company ‘Novy Dom’ specializing in the production of colour pastes, Svetlana Tvorogova, founder and CEO of ‘RDF Group’, company creating innovative mannequins, and Milana Privalova, founder of a candy factory ‘EVA’, also spoke about their business projects. 


The participants discussed the existing problems women face in the implementation of export-oriented projects and suggested ways to address them. 


Galina Karelova, Deputy Chairperson of the Federation Council, said that the Federation Council committees would consider all the proposals on legislature development voiced during the meeting. After the meeting, the Russian Export Centre is to add information about the existing national electronic trade platforms in its educational programme for exporters. 

Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Boykov and Nikolay Gavrilov