The Skolkovo Technopark, one of the largest tech parks in Europe, achieved impressive results in 2014: A new building and an array of services were launched; it won the bid to host the IASP World Conference in 2016; and staged the Conference of Science and Technology Parks. Skolkovo Technopark general director Renat Batyrov shares his impressions of the year and plans for the future.
In October, Russia won the bid to host the 33rd IASP World Conference. How did you do it? What suggestions and advice would you give to new applicants?
First of all I would like to thank everyone who supported Russia on October 21 in Doha. Every vote was very important and critical for the victory.
The International Association of Science Parks (IASP) is the largest organization uniting technology parks, business incubators and institutions that support the development of science and innovations all over the world. In 2014, Russia won the right to host the 33rd IASP Conference in 2016 in Moscow. We had Technopark Strogino, the Science Park of Moscow State University and Moscow Innovation Development Center as partners, and beat out two strong competitors: the Netherlands (Utrecht Technopark) and Turkey (Istanbul Technopark). We won by a landslide: 39 votes for Utrecht, 45 - for Istanbul, and 121 votes for Moscow.
It was very helpful that we developed a detailed plan for the event with the help of experts, and we personally met with each voting IASP full member and described Moscow’s benefits. Skolkovo Technopark did a great job and has already begun preparations for the event in 2016. To new applicants I’d wish good luck and to start preparing for the bidding campaign far in advance.
Does Skolkovo hold other events of international importance?
The Skolkovo Technopark is the gateway to the Russian innovation ecosystem. There are organized a large number of international innovations events, such as Startup Village, Russian Startup Tour, the Conference of Science and Technology Parks, etc.
In October, we organized a large event – the inaugural Conference of Science and Technology Parks. We brought in Russian and international Science Parks, business incubators, representatives of regional authorities, development institutions and experts to exchange experience and share their best practices. The Conference of Science and Technology Parks is held twice a year. We always welcome IASP members.
Startup Village brings together the startup community from around the world. In 2014 the event was attended by 10,000 participants, including 2,000 startups and 500 investors from more than 40 countries and over 60 Russian regions. The third annual Startup Village will take place at the Skolkovo Hypercube on June 2-3, 2015. Prior to Startup Village, the Russian Startup Tour is held, where the Skolkovo Technopark provides a platform of interaction for all Russian regions, startups and tech parks.
What kind of opportunities does the Skolkovo Technopark provide for startups?
We work with startups and business in five industry clusters: nuclear technologies, energy-efficient technologies, biomedicine, space and IT.
Skolkovo Technopark provides its participants with a wide range of services: centers of shared facilities; seats in co-working or office space; financial and legal services; marketing support; HR service; IP protection; moving service; visa and migration support; grant support and tax preferences. Skolkovo participants can take advantage of our services at discounted rates.
Is it possible for foreign startups to use Skolkovo services?
Any foreign startup can use our services if they become a Skolkovo participant first. Foreign startups must meet the requirements of the Skolkovo Foundation foresights.
Skolkovo’s Soft Landing program will be launched in 2015. It’s a specially designed program uniting all Skolkovo preferences in one package, including tax and custom benefits, co-working and grant support. Under this program, Skolkovo Technopark will provide a full range of services required by any startup during the first six months. It also works in the opposite direction: We can help our startups to enter the global market. The Technopark is ready to provide all necessary assistance in moving and translation services, obtaining a Russian legal entity, co-working, etc.
Currently we are working on creating a package of proposals for international startups, but we have already had about five to ten that are interested in Soft Landing.
What is planned for 2015?
Today at Skolkovo we already have more than 1,000 participants, 29 shared research facilities, 12 developed business services and 16 accredited service companies for startups.
We consider our international activities as a very serious part of our strategy. These include, first of all, our participation in the meetings of IASP divisions and our own international events. Skolkovo Technopark is looking forward to meeting all participants of the global innovation ecosystem at the World Conference IASP Beijing, the biggest gathering of its kind in 2015. Also, we plan to visit a great number of Science and Technology Parks around the world to invite them to take part in IASP 2016 Moscow.