YEKATERINA INOZEMTSEVA: “INNOVATIONS ARE THE MAIN FACTOR OF DEVELOPMENT”
On the 24th of November, there was a meeting of Galina Karelova, Deputy Chairperson of the Federation Council, and representatives of Skolkovo Foundation. There was an excursion of the technopark organised especially for the guests. Journalists of the EWC interviewed Yekaterina Inozemtseva, Vice-President for Strategy and Investments of Skolkovo Foundation. She told about research centre, Skolkovo participants, and about the role of innovations in the modern world.
Technopark is one of many buildings situated on the territory of Skolkovo. It is the centre for technological start-ups. This technopark is the biggest in Europe. Its square is more than 95000 sq. m. There are offices and laboratories that start-ups rent at a reduced cost. Projects on several hot topics such as biomedical technologies, energy efficiency, information technologies, space and telecoms are developed there.
“The building was put into service a bit less than a year ago. We have managed to occupy more than 90% of it. About 250 companies have already moved there. Moreover, the start-ups have an opportunity to rent a fully-featured office or a place in a small room. It depends on the level of an organisation and its goals”, said Yekaterina.
Various technological companies-beginners that passed special examination are the participating start-ups of SKOLKOVO. An organisation must put in an order with a description of its project to obtain the status of the participant. In addition, the company doesn’t name itself in the document when sends it to the experts. The commission of 10 persons includes technology entrepreneurs, scholars and other specialists that have necessary experience in a certain sphere of activities. They determine the potential of commercialisation of the project, ability of certain team to realise it, non-contravention of pointed theses to existing science fundamentals. The organisation obtains the status of SKOLKOVO participant, advantages in siting, and extra benefits and bonuses if at least 6 out of 10 experts mark the project as useful and important.
Our interlocutress said that participating start-ups of SKOLKOVO have certain tax relief under the federal law. Thus, they don’t have to pay income tax, value-added tax, and property tax. The social tax is reduced for them. Moreover, the start-ups get grant support. The examine passed, they can use dedicated or microgrant programme (get facilities for a travel to exhibition, business meeting, etc.). In addition, all organisations have an opportunity to rent spaces on territory of the technopark at reduced rates and use various services.
By the way, according to Yekaterina Inozemtseva, the start-ups should be in the market economy conditions from the very beginning. If the project constantly enjoys grants, reliefs, and bonuses, it will never become a serious business. “That is why we teach our participants to find external investors, speak with them. We control the situation during negotiations, call venture funds in”, continued our interlocutress. “One of our main tasks is to help start-ups become companies, get a foothold in business sphere, become successful, and provide their acceleration”. It is important to say that SKOLKOVO Foundation supports the start-up companies but is not among their founding members and does not receive interest from their income.
The start-ups presented in SKOLKOVO are on different levels of development: some teams have just designed ideas and now only begin their business; the others already have certain experience in realisation of a project and come for help in enlargement of customer base, entry into international markets, etc. “We have many big companies-partners all around the world – in America, Asia, and Europe. We establish bilateral contacts with them to help our start-ups find customers, partners, and sponsors in other countries. We also support foreign companies and help them find industrial partners, office premises etc”, mentioned Yekaterina.
There are also common use centres in SKOLKOVO technopark beside participating start-ups. They are independent entities that provide start-ups with services for carrying out researches. There are 47 centres-partners of such kind. They are situated all over the country. Although, many of them moved to the territory of SKOLKOVO after putting the building of the technopark into service. There are also building where the RTD centres of industrial companies are situated. For example, such big companies as Boeing, Renova, Sberbank, Panasonic and others. Thus, SKOLKOVO has become a place that unites start-ups, science, and venture business.
Nowadays SKOLKOVO is not only a research centre. It is the entire innovative city where optimal terms for life, researches, communication, and business are created. There is a school where children from 2 to 18 study, residential area, and technopark for children. There is also Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (SkolTech) based on the model of entrepreneurship institute. It means that students are involved into process of commercialisation of scientific results while they are studying. They work in laboratories that carry out separate orders of this or that industry.
Many people make mistake thinking that SKOLKOVO is a restricted research centre. However, Yekaterina told that everyone can take on excursion of technopark. Everything you need for this is to draw up an application in tour desk. Moreover, SKOLKOVO has annually hosted Startup Village, two-day open-air start-up conferences on its territory. About 20 thousand people take part in this event. They tell about their ideas and projects; communicate; participate in contests, exhibitions, educational and entertaining programmes. In 2018, Startup Village will take place from May 31 to June 1. The enrolment for this event will be open in February or March.
SKOLKOVO strives for engagement of smart, talented, active, persevering specialists to create its own innovations with the help of such projects. Yekaterina is sure that innovations are one of the most important components of movement and development. “The speed of modern life is incredibly high, everything changes rapidly, and people quickly get used to the new things. The innovative solutions, marvels of science and engineering, which we can observe nowadays, determine our destiny in the future”, mentioned our interlocutress. This means that Skolkovo is not just a city of the future. It is the place where people who build our future can work and create.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Yan Zarubin