The Skolkovo Foundation’s Startup Tour, a roving competition for budding tech entrepreneurs, visited the southern Russian city of Taganrog last week, where Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich awarded prizes to the winners in each of the five categories.

Winners in Taganrog received their prizes from Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. Photo:

More than 1,000 scientists and entrepreneurs from Russia’s southern regions took part in the Taganrog event on March 17-18 in what Dvorkovich described as a record: “not only in terms of numbers – the quality of the projects was very high,” he said.

“When the tour had just started several years ago, we were dealing with just a few hundred startups, and today there are already tens of thousands of people interested in tech entrepreneurship,” said Dvorkovich.

“Of course, Russia is oil and gas, it’s a powerful defence industry, but it’s innovative and new entrepreneurial projects that are competitive on the global market that can really boost our prosperity in the current economic situation. For that, we need a huge number of successful projects,” he said, adding that he hoped to see those present in Taganrog again at the Startup Village on June 2-3, when the winners from each regional stage of the Startup Tour will congregate at Skolkovo for the biggest startup conference in Eastern Europe.

The deputy prime minister repeated his conviction that successful projects must have export potential, and said there was unexplored potential in the field of agriculture – an area that is of particular focus for the Startup Tour in Russia’s southern regions, whose soil and climate are favourable for farming.

“We have devised a new programme for the development of science and technology solutions in agriculture, and it will soon be approved,” said Dvorkovich. “We need new seeds, and new technologies for the creation of new breeds.  Russia can and should become a leader in this field using new technologies and new processes,” he said.  

Last week, the Skolkovo Foundation council approved the request of the foundation’s biomedicine cluster to study the creation of a genetics centre that would guarantee Russia’s agricultural independence.

Vasily Golubev, governor of the Rostov region where Taganrog is located, said that the region is southern Russia’s leader in terms of the number of technologies created and patents issued.

“So it’s no coincidence that we are hosting the Startup Tour for the fourth year in a row,” he said. “Large-scale meetings of the innovations community are a tradition here, so we will be expecting our colleagues from the Skolkovo Foundation again next year,” said Golubev.

The Startup Tour will next visit the city of Tula on March 24-25. In Taganrog, the following projects were selected by the jury of experts:

IT category

1st place: Maxim Avtonomov, for his project for a keyboard

2nd place: Dmitry Golubchikov, for his project Shepherd 2.0

3rd place: Donat Ivanov, for his video-monitoring system using miniature UAVs

Energy and energy-efficient technologies category

1st place: Vladimir Sanin, for his project to organise the serial production of energy-efficient electric motors

2nd place: Dmitry Sinyapkin, for his project to produce high-efficiency incinerators for burning household waste and producing heat energy for greenhouses

3rd place: Anastasia Alexeyenko, for her project for the synthesis of platinum-containing catalysers for low-temperature fuel cells

Biological and medical technologies category

1st place: Vyacheslav Braitsev, for his project “Chakkra: Angel Beats”

2nd place: Vera Sazonova, for her project for the computer diagnosis and treatment of minor HIV-associated cervical intraepithelial neoplasia

3rd place Dmitry Romanov, for his project for high-performance bioinformatics programmes

Industrial technologies and materials category: 

1st place: Sergei Safronov, for his project for smart polymer compounds for electronics and electrical engineering

2nd place: Anastasia Novikova, for her project for a photocatalyst based on cupric oxide nanoparticles

3rd place: Yevgeny Mukhanov, for his Smartdyes project to develop smart dyes

Biotechnologies in agriculture and industry category

1st place: Anastasia Radyuk, for her project to develop DNA markers for the production of certain varieties of pigs used in crossbreeding

2nd place: Svetlana Korinfskaya, for her project to develop drought-resistant plants

3rd place: Viktoria Chekryshina, for her cold-treatment device for treating cows with severe mastitis