The impressive list of Latin American countries with which the Skolkovo Foundation has established productive cooperation (including Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and others) will soon have Colombia added to it. During the visit to Skolkovo, the Columbian delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Columbia Carlos Holmes Trujillo, discussed future cooperation in the sphere of innovation.
Mr. Holmes Trujillo has a special relationship with Russia. His father, who was a diplomat, had once worked in this country. The current Foreign Minister of Colombia himself spent three years in Russia (from 1999 to 2001) as his country's ambassador to the Russian Federation. But this is the first time that the Minister, who arrived in Moscow on an official visit, has ever set foot in the Skolkovo Innovation Center.
Igor Drozdov (left) told the Colombian delegation led by Carlos Holmes Trujillo (right) about various projects being implemented in Skolkovo. Photo: Sk.ru
The Foreign Minister of Columbia was very much interested in the development of the Skolkovo project. “The government of President Iván Duque has been focusing its efforts on five main points: The rule of law, entrepreneurship, creating equal opportunities, maintaining sustainable development and fostering innovations. Naturally, development of entrepreneurship is closely associated with the development of industry and the creation of new jobs. These activities must be carried within the course for innovation, and therefore the experience of Skolkovo is very important for subsequent analysis of how goals can be achieved,” Mr. Holmes Trujillo said in his interview to Sk.ru.
There is a state body in Columbia, whose mandate is in many ways similar to that of Skolkovo. This institution is called Colciencias, it has been created to promote the development of science, technology and innovations in the country. Its objectives include providing assistance in establishing cooperation between science and business, as well as introducing startup projects in such priority areas as IT, biotechnology, and energy efficiency. While Skolkovo will only celebrate its 10 years next year, the Columbian organization, founded in 1968, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year. Head of Colciencias, Diego Fernando Hernandez Lozada, also arrived in Moscow and accompanied the minister on his trip to Skolkovo.
Alexander Chernov: “The Skolkovo ecosystem is as open to foreign partners as is possible.” Photo: Sk.ru
Returning to the interview of Carlos Holmes Trujillo to Sk.ru. The Minister has especially emphasized the importance of the “entrepreneurial spirit of innovation.” “We would like to learn more about the activities at Skolkovo, for instance, the combination of company activities, technological development, infrastructure and financing issues,” said the Columbian Foreign Minister after Chairman of the Board of the Foundation Igor Drozdov and Senior Vice President of the Foundation Alexander Chernov told the members of the Columbian delegation how the Skolkovo project is being implemented, what opportunities it opens for partners, including foreign partners, and startups.
Semen Pokatsky (DRD) introduces the Colombian delegation to the company’s product
Able to detect potential stroke victims at a very early stage. Photo: Sk.ru
“This is the place where new relationships are born, not only in the case of startups and mature business but also between largest companies as well,” Mr. Drozdov said. He also mentioned that last week Skolkovo launched SIBUR PolyLab, the first research center in Russia for transforming polymers into useable products. Mr. Chernov also mentioned the agreement between Skolkovo and Hyundai on development and introduction of an app for remote rent-a-car businesses, including long-term rent options. “The Skolkovo ecosystem is as open to foreign partners as is possible. Often, our cooperation, having started in one narrow area, expands to related areas soon after,” Mr. Chernov said.
Carlos Holmes Trujillo: getting introduced to the Skolkovo experience has been quite useful. Photo: Sk.ru
The Columbian delegation became visibly more enthusiastic when the heads of the Skolkovo Foundation started talking about the activities of Skoltech. This interest was sparked not only by the fact that there are several Columbian students studying at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. The guests were quite impressed by what the students do and how well the labs at Skoltech are equipped, and then they really liked the visit to the campus. During their visit, the Columbian delegation also studied the experience of the Skolkovo Foundation’s residents – Unim, DRD, and Motorika.
Although the visit of the delegation headed by Holmes Trujillo was in many ways exploratory in nature, at least one promising area of future interaction between Columbia and the Skolkovo Foundation was discussed. This area concerns agricultural technologies, which is understandable given the fact that Colombia is one of the world's major coffee producers. During the meeting the two parties discussed the possibility of Russian startups going to Columbia to present their products. Reciprocal exchanges are also possible. “If Colombian startups want to enter the Russian market, we will be ready to assist them,” Igor Drozdov said.