Members of the Skolkovo Foundation council discussed plans for the second stage of the giant Skolkovo Technopark at their quarterly meeting on Thursday.
The first stage of the Technopark was opened in January 2017, having been funded by the foundation. The second stage – a continuation of the same enormous building directly behind the first stage – is due to be funded by investors, and will provide an additional 75,000 square metres of office and lab space, at an expected cost of 8-9 billion rubles ($139-$156 million).
The second stage of the Technopark will be immediately behind the existing building, pictured. Photo: Sk.ru.
The second stage should anticipate the needs of a wide range of tech startups, and should not be limited to office space but should, like the first stage, include cutting-edge lab facilities for the companies working there, Skolkovo Foundation president Victor Vekselberg told the meeting.
There is already significant demand for stage II, Renat Batyrov, general director of the Technopark, told the council. The Technopark is now at 98.5 percent occupancy, and has a waiting list of 55 companies keen to rent space in it, he said.
Batyrov cited one of the Technopark resident entrepreneurs as having told him that when he worked in central Moscow, he only managed to hold two or three meetings a day, but now holds 10-15 meetings a day without leaving the Technopark café.
“I think this is what we dreamed of when we started building the Technopark,” said Batyrov.
Council members met at the Skolkovo Technopark for their quarterly meeting on Thursday. Photo: Sk.ru.
The Technopark is designed to be the heart of the Skolkovo innovations ecosystem, providing tech startups with everything they need, from technical equipment to legal services, as well as encouraging resident scientists and entrepreneurs to network and cooperate on joint projects.
The Technopark is home to 16 shared resource centres operated by private companies, which have enabled Skolkovo residents to save 2.5 billion rubles ($43 million) by providing them with access to expensive equipment instead of the companies having to buy it themselves, said Batyrov. Resident companies are also making active use of the Sk BioLab opened late last year as Russia’s first shared lab space for biomed startups, and the robotics hackspace, where companies working in this field can build prototypes and find any apparatus they may need.
Two hundred and two companies currently work in offices and laboratories in the Technopark, while another 210 have signed agreements with its general coworking space, said Batyrov.
Vekselberg said that despite international tension at a political level, he remains optimistic for the foundation’s ongoing cooperation with its many international partners.
“We maintain our commitment to the principles of international cooperation in science and in business,” he told the council.