There is less than a year before the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum. Women from many countries will gather at one venue to discuss pressing problems and ways to solve them. Agata Korovina, journalist of the EWC news agency, interviewed Yekaterina Inozemtseva, Vice President for Strategy and Investment of Skolkovo Foundation. Yekaterina shared information, what Skolkovo Innovation Centre is to present at the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum, why emotional intellect is important and what women of today need for entrepreneurial development. 

– What do you plan to present at the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum in Saint Petersburg? 

– The purpose of establishing the Skolkovo Foundation was to create favorable conditions for the development of entrepreneurship. And the more we do this, the more obvious it is for us that supporting women's initiatives in business requires a separate effort.

Within the framework of the Forum, we would like to hold discussions on several directions. We plan to discuss a number of issues that are dedicated to the role of women in digital economy and economy of the future.


The second topic is women's entrepreneurship in the sphere of creative industries. Design, advertising, cinema, music, fashion, publishing, and urban projects are businesses based on intellectual property and creativity. They form a new type of economy. They become drivers of urban development and the orientation of governments in Europe and Asia.

Today, entrepreneurship in the fields of film shooting, design, architecture, book publishing, gallery business, crafts, and media contribute 6% to Russia's GDP and develops faster than traditional industries. In terms of the session, we would study the most and least successful projects, understand the trends in the development of women's business in the world and in our country, and identify the main requests in education, accelerating programs, mentoring, financial assistance, and so on.

We also believe that it is extremely important to involve women entrepreneurs in the work of the Forum, to hear their opinion. We will definitely invite women who lead technological start-ups within Skolkovo. I would not say these are female projects. They cover such spheres as space technology, geo-navigation and geolocation, pharmaceutics, logistics, financial technologies, and personnel management.

In addition, we could make an exhibition of women's projects or projects for women in terms of the Forum. 


Why do women need to know digital economy? 

The idea of ​​ digital economy is not that we convert an employment record book from a paper format into an electronic one. All the basic production and management processes are being transformed. They change due to automation, the introduction of new technologies. Therefore, when we say that women should be included in this process, we mean that they must learn to use modern technologies to solve their problems. Modern technologies and digital economy as a whole should make it easier for women to fulfill their two roles, which are often mutually exclusive. These roles are the keeper of the hearth and the highly effective professional. 

– What other knowledge is necessary for a modern woman? 

If we look at the statistics, we will see that more than 40% of Candidates of Science are women, and more than 25% of Doctors of Science are also women. But this is not enough for their further involvement in production and economic processes. Often women can’t be torn between their roles and finally choose traditional family values. In this case, it is necessary to receive not new knowledge but a new tool for women to get involved in modern life. 

How is it necessary to develop children so that they keep up with technological progress and at the same time remain good people? 

– In my opinion, we should develop not only intelligence quotient (IQ) in our children, but also emotional quotient (EQ) and love quotient (LQ). I think, in order to be effective and not to lag behind the technical progress, it is necessary, on the one hand, to learn how to manage your emotions and, on the other hand, to increase your own LQ. We will never be able compete with the machine in terms of intelligence. But LQ is something that will always distinguish us from them. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to all three ‘types’ of intellect when developing our children.

When I look at my daughter, I understand that she is already ahead of me in the development of EQ and LQ, although she is only 18. She does not sit 24 hours a day with a tablet, although I do not prohibit doing it. On the contrary, we read a lot together, we communicate. We must invest in our children all what we know or even more. I always gave her the opportunity to try herself in everything. However, if she did not like some lessons, I did not let her just give them up. We sat down and discussed her decision. From an early age, she had the right to choose and the right to say why she does not want to do something and wants something else. It seems to me that if we treat our children as equal, as adults able to make independent decisions and be responsible for them, they will develop not only intellectually, but also emotionally and will grow harmonious personalities. 


What issues would you like to discuss at the Forum concerning women's technological entrepreneurship? 

– We have many young women who work in technological start-ups, some of them are leaders of these projects. However, in terms of representation in percentage they are still minority. At the Forum we would like to make several sessions that would allow us to express our pride of what we have and let our young women talk about their projects. On the other hand, these sessions will help us understand their needs. Perhaps, women entrepreneurs need some special kinds of support, which we do not know about. In our centre, we pay a lot of attention to creating not only favorable conditions for work, but also comfortable living conditions. Skolkovo Innovation Centre has a school for children on its territory. Since this year, children enter it at the age of two years. This is necessary for women entrepreneurs. Although we now understand that there is a demand for an earlier age in such schools. A woman should be able to work and quickly finish her maternity leave without entrusting her child to a nanny for five days a week. Therefore, there should be a unique environment, corporate kindergartens next to the work. 

School since two years, parents are always at work… Won’t it bring harm? 

– The child will not receive proper attention and warmth if his mother works 10 hours and goes by metro 2.5 hours there and 2.5 hours back. The situation with corporate kindergartens is different. For example, a mother leaves her child in such a kindergarten, crosses the road and goes to her office. Then she has a lunch break, visits her child and plays with him. And, finally, in the evening she takes her child, crosses another road and goes home. This is much better! 

Why do you pay special attention to women in the creative industries? 

– Our centre is aimed at supporting innovative technologies. That is why we need a link of technological innovation and creativity. We began to investigate this topic through the issues of creating a favorable urban and social environment, without which the organization of an innovation centre as a city is impossible. The environment greatly affects the mood and behavior of people. We started looking for ways, technologies and solutions to create this comfortable environment. Therefore, we first turned to creative technological projects combining, on the one hand, architecture and design and, on the other hand, technology. Then we had a number of technological projects related to the creation of cinema and animation. Since last year, we have been actively working with projects in the fashion industry. In my opinion, we will have a real technological boom at the border of creativity and technology in the nearest future. Since women are often the leaders of such creative projects, we will try to create such a support system that would meet their needs. 

Agata Korovina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov