Peculiarities of Innovation Business Were Discussed in Minsk


From November 18th to 24th 2013 the Global Entrepreneurship Week took place in Minsk, organized by BEL.BIZ. Association of European Business in Belarus was a partner and the sponsor of the Corporation day on November 19th, and also initiated a round table “Innovations as the national economy strategy”.  The participants exchanged their views on current situation and prospects of introduction of innovations in the national economy, as well as on specificity of innovative entrepreneurship in Belarus.

Within the round table experts from Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, USA, Canada estimated potential and conditions for entrepreneurship development in Belarus, extent of involvement of young people in the process, shared their experience and initiatives in managing the developing of innovative potential.

In his speech, Rick Rasmussen, International Business Development at NestGSV, Rasmussen International founder, pointed high interest of USA and Canada governments in supporting start-ups. “Business ideas support starts with individual grants. Companies developing new technologies apply for a grant. Governmental experts evaluate the project and counsel if it’s worth investing. In case the project is approved, a company can get 50 to 500 thousand USD. Engineering companies get tax preferences. The government also  tends to increase venture capital. Over 500 mln USD are invested in this area annually. Venture programs are financed on federal government level.»

Marvin Liao, Experienced Silicon Valley Executive in International Digital Media, Yahoo veteran, expressed the opinion that the most successful country in terms of start-ups support is Singapore. “To my mind, this country has always been very friendly towards business. Today Singapore is the center of innovative activity even though other Asian countries put a lot of efforts in this sphere. Singapore has a lot of advantages: high standard of living, advantageous taxation, qualitative educational infrastructure. Companies developing new technologies meet huge support from Singapore government. This is why lots of foreign venture funds, for example, Japanese, invest in start-ups in Singapore”.

Dmitri Burnashev, Entrepreneur, Deputy Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre, Enterprise Estonia considered that the main emphasis in innovative entrepreneurship should be laid on the human resources development. “In many post-Soviet countries Estonia is a “common noun”. Estonia has always been believed to be a country with no resources, no nothing. And Estonians have always felt this pressing. But at the same time all this has caused an immense surge of national pride, desire to find their own way through all the obstacles. It contributed to the first innovative products. Many countries at the early 90-s had similar or even better starting point, with better raw materials source. But people didn’t really believe they could do anything. We need to generate a whole culture of entrepreneurship, raise children with the belief that to work on improving the life is the right thing to do.”

Representatives of Belarusian academy community, Andrey Lavrouchin, candidate of philosophical studies, Docent of the Department of Social and Political Sciences of EHU, Member of Public Bologna Committee, BISS invited expert, and Olga Malashenkova, candidate of economical studies, deputy dean of International Relations Faculty of BSU, focused on the importance of using students’ and youth potential.

Olga Malashenkova underlined, that different structures aimed at youth’s entrepreneurship support already exist in Belarus. “We have 11 technoparks, 5 centers of transfer technologies. Besides, there are Republic Center of Innovative Technologies, High Technologies Park, innovative centers, business-incubators, marketing centers. There are also private initiatives: Startup Weekend. There is a very effective business-angels community – BAVIN. A business accelerator managed by AVI Investment company exists. Projects in the accelerator are supported not only financially but mentor support is also provided.  BSU realizes a SUCSID project aimed at creation of an international startup net. All this forms actual demand to small and medium-sized enterprises – if they are ready to collaborate with the students.

“In Russian Federation a federal law Nr.217 has been adopted, which allows enterprises to create their companies on the universities‘ base.  We should also stir up interest for innovations. Many officials stick to the opinion that innovations are not relevant, essential for small and middle-sized enterprises. But this is not true.  To help the entrepreneurs to communicate their ideas, experts should be involved, too. Partnership in estimating the environment of the project could be the first step. The second one could be “running-in” of the ideas by the people inspired by the idea – students.” – shared his opinion Andrey Lavrouchin.

Yuliya Krynskaya, the AEB Executive director, said: “We should exchange the information with the countries successful in introducing innovations. The round table we’ve held with participation of experts from Belarus and abroad helped all the participants to realize how wide is the range of scenarios for innovative renewal of Belarus economy. Such exchange of experience and opinions becomes a great base for search of the most effective Belarus specific strategy of monetization of innovations.”