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New Season of Vnesheconombank’s Million-Rouble Idea Start-up Game Show Open to Applicants

Technology companies offering breakthrough solutions for any industries and all the way through from idea to marketed product can apply for participation. The authors of the most promising and elaborate ideas will be selected to compete in a game show, Million-Rouble Idea. The show will come out in two different formats in 2018: apart from being televised, it is to be presented online. The winning finalist will be given prize money, and the most attractive projects may receive investments from Vnesheconombank’s subsidiary VEB Innovations and other Russian investors, assistance with acceleration and mentorships with market experts.

Million-Rouble Idea will focus this year on innovation in the regions. The project initiator, Vnesheconombank, has partnered up with Open Innovations Startup Tour (OIST) to encourage the best regional ideas to take part in the contest. Organised by the Skolkovo Foundation every year in collaboration with other development institutions, OIST is Russia’s largest initiative to find and select new innovation projects. The first stage of OIST 2018 took place in Perm. The contest will also be hosted by 10 more Russian cities: Krasnoyarsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Tyumen, Izhevsk, Kaliningrad, Ulyanovsk, Belgorod, Ulan-Ude, Veliky Novgorod and Krasnodar. Participation in Million-Rouble Idea is not limited to the locations of OIST, and applicants can be based in any place in Russia.

“The project has two objectives. First, we expect it to help us to encourage technology entrepreneurship. The Russian start-up ecosystem is young. Its development needs not only investment and infrastructure but also more attention in society. It is important that success stories should be well known and that innovators, researchers and engineers throughout Russia should see real cases of how an idea has developed into a full business. Generating publicity for successes is a good instrument for increasing motivation. The second objective is to find breakthrough technology projects and help their products to be refined, spotted by investors and brought to market, including internationally. To accomplish both objectives, we will make the new season in an additional format. Apart from being televised, the show is to have an online version with independent content. While the televised version is targeted at the general public, the online project is intended primarily for the professional investor and start-up communities,” Vnesheconombank’s Deputy Chairman and Member of the Board Alexey Ivanchenko said.

The organisers will be looking for ideas and scrutinizing them with the help of the Internet Initiatives Development Fund and VEB Innovations, a company investing in early-stage start-ups with breakthrough technology in various areas. The most interesting businesses will come into the pipeline of Vnesheconombank’s innovation subsidiary and will be able to attract investment even if they are not among the finalists or contestants.

The first season of Million-Rouble Idea on NTV was won by AgroBot, Una Wheel and Motorika, sharing a total of 60 million roubles in prize money. Along with the winners, over 10 projects received prizes. VEB Innovations has plans to do business with some of the contestants. Participation in the game show also gives access to a huge audience: the start-ups and their products became familiar to numerous potential customers and buyers.

Applications for participation can be made online at ideamillion.ru.

Million-Rouble Idea project initiator: Vnesheconombank. Partners: Skolkovo Foundation and Internet Initiatives Development Fund. Coordinator: VEB Innovations.

Vnesheconombank is a national development bank and one of Russia’s largest financial institutions. Established in 1924, the Bank has operated under the special Federal Law “On Bank for Development” since 2007. The highest governing body is the Supervisory Board chaired by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. In accordance with the Development Strategy until 2021, Vnesheconombank will focus its activities on financing for high-technology industrial projects, infrastructure development, support for non-resource exports, support for innovations and projects of the National Technology Initiative. Vnesheconombank will reach a new level of quality: proactively searching for projects on the government’s list of priorities, working together with customers to thoroughly analyse business projects, attracting private coinvestors, using state-of-the-art technology to track the progress of projects.

VEB Innovations was established by Vnesheconombank in 2017 as part of the reform of activities related to financing for innovations. The new subsidiary is intended to provide a one-stop solution for applications for innovation project support from Vnesheconombank Group. VEB Innovations priorities include financing projects of the National Technology Initiative and the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation programme and helping Russian innovation companies to gain entry into international markets.

Open Innovations Startup Tour (OIST) is a joint regional tour organised by development institutions in Russian regions with the support of the Russian Government to promote the innovation business in Russia. OIST not only includes a contest among technology projects but also features educational events and conferences. OIST has been hosted by different Russian cities since 2011. The project is aimed at encouraging technology entrepreneurship, providing support for regional innovation teams and projects and advancing competencies of regional service providers: operators, investors, patents agents, regional business incubators, etc. The co-organisers of Open Innovations Startup Tour 2018 are Russian Venture Company (RVC), the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE), the Agency of Technological Development (ATD), the Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF), VEB Innovations, Rosinfocominvest, the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs and Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation.


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