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Skolkovo systematically supports youth startups in the Far East

관리자 2023.09.15 16:32

Skolkovo systematically supports youth startups in the Far East

As part of the EEF 2023, DEITA.RU correspondents met with Yuri Saprykin, Vice President for Regional and International Development, 

Managing Director of the Skolkovo Foundation (VEB.RF Group) to learn about technological entrepreneurship in the Far East, 

the development of youth startups and their expansion geography in India and China.

What are the most notable developments that the Foundation has supported in the Far East recently?

Skolkovo in the Far East has been systematically supporting projects since 2015. Before this, there was not a single Skolkovo resident here, now there are dozens of them. A number of promising developments by Far Eastern startups that received support from the Fund were presented at the EEF. Among the most interesting are the project of a universal module for the vertical cultivation of leafy greens and strawberries using phenotyping of the Innofarm-Dv company, ultra-sensitive rapid tests for COVID-19 "Rapid Bio", innovative industrial technology for growing sea cucumbers "Seaborn DV", an educational constructor for assembling underwater robots with the ability to program them to perform various tasks at the Robotics Center.

Are Skolkovo residents making a U-turn to the East?

Cooperation with Asian countries is one way or another one of the strategic priorities of the Skolkovo Foundation. We can say that today it has been updated and is developing more actively. As for the residents themselves, of course, some of them had to adapt to the new international context and look at Asian markets from the point of view of potential for their further development. We see a surge of interest in countries in this region. Thus, Skolkovo residents take an active part in various competitions, for example, within the framework of the G20 Digital Innovation Alliance. In August, out of six Russian participants in the competition in Bangalore, five were residents of the Foundation (Vinvestor, Motorika, T8 Sensor, VR Concept, Agrointellect), and Motorika took second place among participants from all countries.

How are the Foundation's representative offices developing in China and India? What progress have you made over the past few months?

The Skolkovo representative office in China has existed since 2016; every year, more than 150 startups – residents of the Fund – receive requests through it. We provide them with consulting assistance and assistance in finding partners. This year, our Chinese office began to search for components for research that were previously purchased from unfriendly countries. This type of support is in great demand among startups. It should be noted that China was closed to visitors due to the pandemic, so until March 2023 we worked exclusively online, and now offline activities have begun. Thus, by the end of the year, six business missions are planned for Skolkovo partners and residents to China. Our residents successfully participate in Chinese technology competitions, take prizes there, and receive grants and investments.

As for India, according to forecasts, by 2025 the Indian startup ecosystem will take second place after the United States; we see here promising niches for increasing the volume of technological exports in all areas of work of the Fund’s clusters. We are talking about promising developments in such areas as waste processing and disposal, the development of electric transport, industrial digital solutions using AI, e-commerce platforms, the Internet of things, ecology, information security and a number of others. Next week there will be another business mission to India with nine Skolkovo companies.

What role do FEFU and other universities in the macroregion play in innovative business?

The main thing is personnel, human capital, as well as the availability of innovative infrastructure. Attracting large businesses within the university campus and consolidating with government authorities provides assistance to young start-ups. FEFU has a very strong base in this sense and we see a tangible result of joint efforts. We are talking about interesting and extremely useful projects for the region. Thus, the Poseidon company, a resident of Skolkovo, is implementing a project to introduce into commercial use a new industrial fishing technology - the creation of so-called “sea pastures” controlled using acoustic fields. This has an obvious economic effect for the fishing industry, as it allows using existing resources to significantly reduce the cost and timing of fishing.

Among other universities with which we cooperate, it is worth noting the North-Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic, universities of the Khabarovsk Territory. We are now discussing environmental development centers with Kamchatka, and we are going to work with Sakhalin.

University Technology Entrepreneurship Platform. How does it help develop innovative business in the regions, how effective is it?

The university's technology entrepreneurship platform aims to launch a serial "production" of student startups throughout the country. This is a federal project under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science, designed until 2030. The Skolkovo Foundation, which has been working with universities for more than 10 years, is one of the operators of the Platform. I can give you the following figures: during this work, more than 50 thousand students passed through the Foundation’s targeted programs and events; at the end of the day, we, or rather, the Russian economy, received 369 innovative projects ready for implementation in various industries. As part of the Platform, we are implementing a cashback program for individuals who are investors in university startups. People who invest at least 500 thousand rubles in such a startup receive compensation of 50% of the invested funds within the personal income tax paid for the previous 3 years. While all these projects are young, it is difficult for private investors to assess how they work, but there are already examples of investments. I think the effect will be clear in 2-3 years, now we see a response, which means we need to do this.