The Startup Tour organised by the Skolkovo Foundation is set to hit the road in February, visiting cities across Russia and the former Soviet Union with the aim of fostering technology startups.
The travelling event, which aims to spot innovative projects with potential and then help the projects’ authors to develop their ideas, kicks off in the Siberian city of Irkutsk on February 1 and 2, before heading to the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok on February 4 and 5. Over a three-month period, technology talent scouts from the Skolkovo innovation hub in Moscow will visit another 11 cities, including Russia’s western exclave Kaliningrad, as well as the Belarusian capital Minsk and the Kazakh city of Almaty.
The startup teams will have the opportunity – free of charge – to pitch their ideas to panels of successful businesspeople, investors and mentors, who will offer the budding entrepreneurs feedback on their ideas and advice on business models and securing investment. There will also be workshops and professional skills training sessions for participants, and the chance to interact with representatives of the regional authorities and local business figures.
The talent scouts will be looking for projects specializing in five focus areas: Biomedicine, biotechnology in agriculture and industry, industrial technologies, energy efficiency and IT. In each region, a winning team will be selected, and those winners will then converge for a two-day conference at Skolkovo’s Startup Village in Moscow from June 2 to 3.
Nearly 7,000 people registered for last year’s Startup Tour. There are more than 1,000 technology startups based at the Skolkovo Foundation that saw combined revenues last year of 43.6 billion rubles ($570 million).