South West | Finance, business

Annual Caspian Innovation Business Leaders Forum “Innovation for Business”, Astrakhan

25 Apr '10

A two-days Annual Caspian Innovation Business Leaders Forum “Innovation for Business” was held on the April 22-23, 2010 in Astrakhan State Technical University. The Forum audience included local business & community leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and Business Angel investors, who were seeking to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of their enterprises via the use of innovation and new technologies.

Annual Caspian Innovation Business Leaders Forum “Innovation for Business” was a part of “Innovation Days”. “Innovation Days” event was held on the April 08-23, 2010 in Astrakhan Region. These “Innovation Days” have become one of the main annual regional events. Its aim is to activate formation of a new progressive economy. Representatives of the leading IT and nanotechnological companies participated in “Innovation Days”. They have shared their experience in the sphere of innovation business development.

«I wish we could position our region as the Innovation one, - said the Governor of the Astrakhan region Alexander Zhilkin. – We are ready to carry on talks with our partners, such corporations as “Intel”, “Siemens”, “RUSNANO” and other Forum participants to realize our plans”.

Forum co-organisers were: investment and consulting company MARCHMONT Capital Partners and Astrakhan State Technical University.

The General Partner of the Forum was OJSC “Russian Venture Company”. National Co-Organizer of the Forum was UNOVA Media, Moscow, in partnership with iCamp and BIT.
General Informational Partner – Astrakhan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Information Partners – Institute for the Development of Financial Markets, Moscow; Russian Association of Venture Financing, Moscow; the Russian Association for Entrepreneurship Education (RAEE), Saint Petersburg; “The Angel Investor”, Moscow; ANCOR, Astrakhan Regional Branch “Delovaya Rossiya”, Astrakhan regional Branch “OPORA Rossii”, Coordination Council of Entrepreneurs in the South Federal region, magazine “Business in Astrakhan”.

The first day of the Forum “Applying Innovative Thinking to Improving Company Efficiency & Market Competitiveness” was started with a plenary session and it was opened by the Astrakhan region Governor Alexander Zhilkin, the Rector of Astrakhan State Technical University, Yuri Pimenov, General Director of MARCHMONT Capital Partners, Nizhny Novgorod, and Nailya Nikitina, the Chairman of Astrakhan Regional Branch “Delovaya Rossiya” with the assessment of today’s regional innovation economy.

The Governor of the Astrakhan region Alexander Zhilkin told about general government support of regional business community. “All levels of the Government of the Astrakhan region are aimed at the innovation development – the main project within three years. We aspire to make an accent on the serious approach to this sphere in our daily activity” – said the Governor. The regional authorities are ready to give a financial support to innovation business-projects: to assist in finance raising, to create techno parks, business-incubators. It is planned to establish about 300 small innovation enterprises till the end of this year. Innovation tendency will be developed in terms of agreement signed between the Government of the Astrakhan region and the Savings Bank of Russia.

Alexander Zhilkin mentioned that innovation inventions were the reason of 20% growth in the agriculture economical sector even in crisis conditions. “The Government is ready to a dialogue with a science community – people who create innovation and business community – people who know how to introduce these technologies”, - said Alexander Zhilkin.

Yuri Pimenov, Rector of Astrakhan State Technical University also addressed his opening speech to participants: “Today Russian science and educational communities have tasks which are very important and urgent for our country. These tasks are formulated by the President of the Russian Federation and concerned with a wide modernization of the Russian economy, establishing science and technological enterprises via creating of innovation economy. Finally realization of these tasks has to improve the prosperity and welfare of our nation.

We can see that our federal and regional authorities pay careful attention to these issues. New law, institutional and financial bases for science and innovation business are being formed. And we understand that scientists will be responsible for these tasks realization more than others. They are bearers of innovation potential, which has to be practically realized.

Today is “hour of triumph” for the scientists of our University, managers, engineers, economists - they have to offer fresh and original ideas, new technologies, inventions, a good business plan and forecast”.

Today an innovation cluster is being formed in Russia, but investments and infrastructure are necessary for this. The role of the government here is a key – authorities have to minimize business risks. In this case investors will become to invest in Russian economy, not in Cyprus or American economies. ‘I know how to solve these problems effectively with help of the Government”, - said Kendrick D.White.

Partnership Agreement between BIT Contest (Business of innovation technologies) and Astrakhan Technical State University was signed during the opening session. “BIT” Contest is one of the oldest innovation contests in Russia. The 7th “BIT” contest will be organized in Russia in 2010. This year “BIT” contest will become a federal contest. It is planned to create Regional branches of this contest in all Russian Federal Districts. This will allow the contest become more prestigious and mass. After preliminary negotiations the decision was taken to create the representative branch office of the “BIT” contest in the South Federal District on the basis of Astrakhan Technical State University.

Nailya Nikitina: “It is impossible to realize innovation ideas without innovators. It is extremely important to create innovation infrastructure. Today Russia is one of the best places for business development. Astrakhan region is one of the most attractive regions for attracting investments and rated as the fifth region among Russian regions.”

Kendrick D. White told about Russian competitive advantages in a Globally Integrated Economy in Session 1: “Preparing the Foundation for Russia’s 21st Century Innovation Economy”, Oleg Lysak from RUSNANO told about Innovation Infrastructure Development in Nano Industry Applications, Dmitry Andreev, Microsoft, - about Innovation Entrepreneurship in Russia and Microsfot programs aimed at the companies development support by using Microsoft resources.In Oleg Lysak opinion, the main problem in innovations development is a lack of motivation. Evgeny Savin, General Director of UNOVA Media told about innovation ecosystem and how to make investment decisions on different company’s development stages.

The second part of the day was devoted to the role of innovations in Russian economy and innovations as a Driver for Improving Company Value & Attractiveness. A master class “From Laggard to Leader – How the UK Transformed into an Innovation Economy” was presented to Forum guests. The main topics of this master class were: traditions of British Entrepreneurship, ways of culture transformation in the 21st Century and Russian-British Case Study Examples of Innovation Applications in Business.

Vitaly Lazorin CEO of Novstream Constructive Solutions, Expert of Russian PwC Technology & Innovation Center told about PwC Technologies & Innovation Center Technological Forecast. Arthur Khacheniyan, Deputy Minister of Science & Education Ministry of Astrakhan Region made an accent on the necessity and importance of participation of the educational and science system representatives of Astrakhan Region for anti-crisis measures realization.

The Forum participants showed much interest in the session “Alternative Finance Sources – Using Innovation to Attract Strategic Partners”. Distinguished Russian experts, including: Oleg Utkin, Head of GR in Russian Venture Company; Mikhail Treyvish, President, OmniGrade, (Moscow, Vienne), CEO, National Factoring Company, Moscow, Director, International Factors Group (Brussels, Belgium), Kendrick D. White, General Director, MARCHMONT Capital Partners about were among the speakers. Oleg Utkin mentioned: “Russian Venture Company is one of the tools of innovation technological economy market. We plan to sign an agreement with the Astrakhan region Government in the nearest future. Today RVC has about 20-30 venture partners”.

More than 100 participants attended the first day of the Forum. Among the audience were top managers and entrepreneurs of Astrakhan region, Universities representatives and scientists, international companies’ experts, Business Angels, investing into science-technological business projects.

The second day of the Forum was devoted to Attracting Investment Capital to Innovation Projects & Enterprise Modernization problems. Askar Kabikeev, Deputy Chief of the Government staff of the Astrakhan Region, Minister of Economic Development started discussions during the Round Table “Regional Investment Climate in Astrakhan Region – Elements for Success”. He declared that it is important to make serious steps in order to develop innovation economy. It is necessary to create conditions for innovators and overcome “a death valley”. Innovations Support Fund will be founded in Astrakhan region. The amount of grants for a small innovation factory was increased by 500 000 rub. Today science researches expenses of acting enterprises are compensated by the Government budget in the amount of 5 000 000 rub. The total amount of a Guarantee Fund is 248 000 000 rub. It is planned to increase this amount up to 400 000 000 rub till the end of the year. Today 70% of innovator’s taxation base is covered by the budget financial resources. Today we develop business-incubators’ network but it is ineffective. We need a good scientific base for inventions’ introduction.

Nailya Nikitina, Chairman of Astrakhan Regional Branch “Delovaya Rossiya”: “Astrakhan region has a chance for development, it is caused by geopolitical conditions and people’s wishes to take part in this process. Law support, solving tax problems – are one of the main conditions for business development in a sphere of innovations. Public organizations have to participate in law initiatives. It is important to motivate investors and protect their interests. One of the main other tasks is to improve an educational system for innovation entrepreneurs”.

“Delovaya Rossiya”, Internet-company “UpSelf” in partnership with a forming sponsors, äîíîđîâ and investors of intellectual inventions Counsil held and internet-contest “Modernizacia” (Modernization) for the best monetization of innovation experience in Russian regions. Additional information can be received at This contest is being held since the January 2009 till the August 2010. The winners will be allowed to present their intellectual inventions (incl. inventions which were not presented for the contest) on the innovation inventions Exhibition. Besides winners will be able to meet members of Sponsors Council and invited investors informally.

Vadim Mankov, Head of Science Department in Astrakhan State Technical University told about the role of foundation of small innovation companies by Universities and Science Research Institutes. He gave a special attention to the problem of applying the 217 Federal Law dated 02 of August 2009.

Round Table “Regional Investment Climate in Astrakhan Region – Elements for Success” was continued. Case studies on development strategies of their companies were shared by Grigory Izmailov, General Director, Agent Plus, Astrakhan; Vladimir Bobrov, general director, LLC Yuzhny Svet; Alexey Bulychev, Founder, LLC “Souvenirs of Astrakhan” and other representatives from Astrakhan companies.

The day two program ended with a round table, where the participants discussed Business Angels Clubs activities in Russia, USA and Great Britain, and agreed on the necessity to create a Business Angels Club in Astrakhan region. The best BIT projects from Tomsk and Nizhny Novgorod were presented.

The event was closed with a networking reception.

More than 80 participants attended the second day of the Forum.

The Forum was attended by 130 participants, including owners and top-managers of the companies from Astrakhan city, Astrakhan region, Moscow and other cities, Universities and science institutions representatives, experts from large international corporations, Business Angels, entrepreneurs, seeking investment into science and technology business.


Kendrick White, Founder, Managing Principal, MARCHMONT Capital Partners (Nizhny Novgorod),

"Assessing Russia’s Competitive Advantages in a Globally Integrated Economy – Leading Examples to Follow"


"Maximizing Enterprise Value in Turbulent Times – Risk Management Strategies"



Oleg Lysak, Senior Expert, Infrastructure Programs, the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO) (Moscow),

"Innovation Infrastructure Development in Nano Industry Applications"


Dmitry Andreev, Expert, Information Systems Development, Microsoft (Moscow),

"Microsoft & Innovation Entrepreneurship in Russia"


Evgeny Savin, Organizer: iCamp & BIT Competition; Founder, General Director, UNOVA Media (Moscow),

"Innovation Ecosystem"


Oleg Utkin, Head, State Authorities’ Interaction Department, Russian Venture Company, (RVC) (Moscow),

"Russian Venture Company Initiatives"



Vitaly Lazorin, CEO, Novstream Constructive Solutions, Expert, Russian PwC Technology & Innovation Center (Moscow),

"PwC Technologies & Innovation Center Technological Forecast"

"Innovation Projects Financing on Early Development Stage"


Mikhail Treyvish, President, OmniGrade, (Moscow, Vienne), CEO, National Factoring Company, Moscow, Director, International Factors Group (Brussels, Belgium),

"Forming an Efficient Marketing Strategy"


Vadim Man’kov, Head, Science Department, Astrakhan State Technical University (Asrtakhan),

"Foundation of Small Innovation Companies by Universities and Science Research Institutes"


Grigory Izmailov, General Director, Agent Plus (Asrtakhan),

"Case Study 1: LLC Agent Plus, From Idea to International Company»"


Kendrick White, Founder, Managing Principal, MARCHMONT Capital Partners (Nizhny Novgorod):

"From Laggard to Leader – How the UK Transformed into an Innovation Economy"



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