Denis Kovalevich, Director General of the TechnoSpark group of companies, announced that candidates will be selected every quarter in 2019. The plan is to attract no fewer than 100 people over the year
MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. Every quarter of 2019, the Russian network for establishment of tech businesses primarily invested by the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (FIEP, part of JSC RUSNANO) is planning to take on beginning entrepreneurs in 10 regions of Russia to develop the startups within the framework of the Business Debut Project, the RUSNANO Media Office reports on Tuesday.
“The network of nanocenter companies has been creating tech startups for six years already. Now we are building 700 businesses simultaneously in various industries. To reinforce our ranks, this year we have tested a new format of attracting people who are capable of independent work. Within the six pilot months of the Business Debut Program, we have taken on 20 people who are going to be involved in the business construction,” one of the shareholders and the Director General of the TechnoSpark Group of Companies, Denis Kovalevich, says in that report.
“Next year the candidates will be selected every quarter: over the year we are planning to attract at least a hundred people into our startups,” Kovalevich points out.
About the Program
The Business Debut Program was first implemented in 2018 by the companies that belong to the FIEP venture network in seven cities of Russia: Troitsk (New Moscow), Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Saransk, Ulyanovsk and Kazan. To launch the activity, each tech startup got an injection of 1 million ruble investment.
According to Kovalevich, the Business Debut model enables beginners to try their hand at being a technological entrepreneur rather than an engineer or a manager.
Aspiring startup constructors are selected while they are engaged in the 10-hour simulator of real entrepreneurial activities suggested by the business game “Build a Company. Sell the Company” that on average attracts up to 100 people.
Business Debut is a relatively safe way to get involved in entrepreneurship. Firstly, business ideas for startups come from the professional community that rests on the long practice and invaluable experience of both successes and failures. Secondly, while building a company, the program participants use our investments with the only risks involved being their own time and occasional decrease in current profits. Thirdly, our startups are provided with the infrastructure – both in terms of management and production – that is significantly different from the situation a usual entrepreneur faces,” he continues.
“On average, among 100 people playing the game there are five to seven ones that demonstrate competencies associated with entrepreneurship and business-making activities. We manage to engage three to four people of that group, the rest don’t normally take part in the selection rounds in order to find an interesting project but just for the fun of it,” Kovalevich says.
About the Game
According to Kovalevich, the game “Build a Company. Sell the Company” helps the players to show main personality traits that are required from a tech entrepreneur of today.
“They have to be hooked on the complex subject, that is to have curiosity about technology. There won’t be any success without discipline, persistence and self-motivation for doing the activity. But most importantly, it’s the competence that is now often called resilience. The term was borrowed from physics where it is applied in the sense of the ability of a subject to retain its inner structure at high pressure,” Kovalevich explains.
“The same holds true for entrepreneurs: they are under constant pressure of external circumstance, situation in the market, absence of human resources, abundance of tax inspectors, lack of capital and dire need of time. Despite all this, they sill hold on to their common sense, looking for solutions and keeping up the constructive work,” he adds.
He says that starting from 2019 newly forged entrepreneurs will also be picked in Zelenograd, Dubna and Samara. The program will be expanding its coverage through collaboration with a number of top Russian universities.
“It has to evolve into a full-blown entrepreneurial internship offered in the final years of study that should culminate in the student’s graduation paper describing the results of the startup construction,” Kovalevich spells out.
As he says, universities will shoulder some of the costs associated with this program, including the student’s salary. “We are covering the costs of the basic investments. While universities are investing in people, we are investing in their companies. It is important to point out that any universities can take part in the program, not only those that are located in the same cities with the nano-centers,” Kovalevich clarifies.