Softlanding in Skolkovo, the first program for attraction of foreign startups, completed with presentation of certificates of appreciation to pilot study participants. Taking part in the ceremony were representatives of five high-tech companies from South Korea. They all said that the program was quite effective and intensive, and some of the participants said they were going to continue increasing cooperation with Skolkovo, including applications to get the resident status and open subdivisions of their companies in the Technopark.


The Softlanding in Skolkovo program lasted for three weeks, and not only introduced the participants to Russia’s innovative ecosystem and the services provided by the Skolkovo Foundation and other development institutions, but also help them get deeply immersed (as it is only possible in such a short time) into Russian realities, culture and traditions. “It is very important for us to attract new people to Skolkovo, offer more services for startups, developers and scholars from different countries. I am sure that you will tell your colleagues, partners and clients about the capabilities that Skolkovo has,” Kirill Kaem, Senior Vice President of the Skolkovo Foundation for Innovations, said at the award ceremony. “People are after all the most important element in our work, and developing our business would be impossible without networking. We are always open to all of you.”


Kirill Kaem and Darya Smirnova, curator of the softlanding program present the certificate to the executive director of Weco Yo Chen Jen. Photo: Sk.ru.

 

This thought was developed further by Benjamin Wilkening, head of the Go-To-Market Department of the Skolkovo Foundation. In his opinion, Skolkovo was the optimal starting point for access to the Russian market, especially in the area of B2B solutions. “You can find very highly qualified employees here, which is especially important for a startup. Skolkovo allows you to meet Russian partners and gain access to research infrastructure,” Mr. Wilkening said. “Russia is not the easiest country to start a business, but its future is quite promising.”

The first participants of the Softlanding in Skolkovo program were representatives of Shinshinsa, the company developing household appliances and industrial equipment, as well as robots for automating the assembly process, Weco, makers of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and microelectronics assembly, HDT, manufacturers of mobile X-ray equipment for medical and industrial applications, Bonotox, a cosmetics company, and Miceleech, a mobile platform for business matching.


Participants and organizers of Softlanding in Skolkovo program. Photo: Sk.ru.

 

Participating in the program will help them get immersed quicker into Russian realities, says Maksim Romanov, Director of the Department for International Cooperation of the Skolkovo Foundation. Foreign participants of the program studied the advantages that Russian residents of Skolkovo usually receive. These include the services of the Intellectual Property Center, legal support, accounting services, customs benefits and collective use centers. “I am hopeful that in these three weeks you could gain some understanding of how the Russian innovative ecosystem functions, what the Skolkovo Center is, what services it can offer and what prospects it opens for development of your business on the market of Russia and the CIS,” Mr. Romanov said. It is very important for Skolkovo, he continued, to have the participants of the Softlanding in Skolkovo program tell about it to other people who might be interested in gaining access to the Russian market.


Maksim Romanov: taking part in the program will help foreign companies better understand the realities of the Russian market. Photo: Sk.ru.

The program consisted of several modules that presupposed maximum assistance to participants, from provision of a free workstation in the coworking zone of the Skolkovo Technopark to visa support and organizing tours in Russia. As a result, representatives of two South Korean companies participating in the program, Shinshinsa and Weco, announced their intention to create a subsidiary in Russia in order to apply for the resident status of the Skolkovo Foundation.

Summarizing the results of his participation in Softlanding in Skolkovo program, Weco’s Executive Director Yo Chen Jen emphasized the importance of the recommendations provided by Vladimir Turtikov, Operations Director of the Cluster of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Nuclear and Space Technologies, and the potential for exploring the Russian technological landscape. Andrey Melnik, representative of Miceleech, said that the program allowed him and his colleagues to gain a holistic understanding of what the Russian innovative ecosystem was like. He will recommend Miceleech management to set up the company’s Russian division in Skolkovo, Mr. Melnik said. 

Plans are for dozens of foreign companies to participate annually in the Skolkovo Softlanding Program every year. Three program cycles have been planned each year (in April, June, and October).