EEF 2018 to include, for the first time, an international Go competition between participants
A friendly match in the strategy board game Go is planned for the participants in the Eastern Economic Forum 2018. The judges will be Go players from Russia, China, Japan, Korea and other countries. The new event format as part of the Forum is to be realized by the Roscongress Foundation and the Russian Go and Strategy School on the initiative of Vnesheconombank.
EEF 2018 delegates will be given a unique opportunity to learn the Go rules, multimodal development strategy and spheres of application of Go strategy for developing the Russia–APR cultural and business dialogue. The Russian Go and Strategy School will provide the necessary support in forming and training teams.
“The Eastern Economic Forum is a recognized international platform for discussing strategic aspects of co-operation between Russia and the APR countries. A conceptual feature specific to the Forum is its busy sporting programme. The Chinese game of strategy will add diversity to the Forum’s sporting programme and promote development of the given sport in Vladivostok. This is particularly relevant given that, in the next few years, the city is to host the Go world championship”, noted Presidential Aide Anton Kobyakov.
“Go’s advantage lies in constant involvement of multiple strategies. In the past, they used to teach in business schools to develop a good and a bad scenario. But the world is different – there are multitudes of scenarios between the good and the bad. The world is constantly changing. The situation within VEB reminds me of Go: lots of assets, lots of cases affecting the portfolio in different ways, and, of course, the most important thing needs to be chosen, but you must remember that small things affect big ones”, so believes President of Vnesheconombank Sergey Gorkov.
In 2020, the Russian Federation will enjoy, for the first, time, the right to host the Go amateur world championship in Vladivostok. Traditionally, the tournament is held in countries of South-East Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. The friendly Go match as part of the EEF will be a step in the preparations for holding the world championship.
The Eastern Economic Forum will be held in Vladivostok on 6–7 September 2018.
Go is a strategy board game that arose in China between 2 and 5 thousand years ago. In the 20th century, the game spread throughout the world. It is considered one of the most complex for artificial intelligence but, in January 2016, the magazine Nature announced that Google had managed to create an artificial neural network capable of defeating the Go world champion.
The Roscongress Foundation is a major organizer of convention and exhibition events.
The Roscongress Foundation was founded in 2007 to develop Russia’s economic potential and strengthen the country’s image by organizing convention, exhibition, and public events. The Foundation develops the substantive content for these events, and provides companies and organizations with advice, information, and expert guidance, as well as offering comprehensive evaluation, analysis, and coverage of the Russian and global economic agenda. The Foundation handles administration and helps to promote business projects and attract investment, including as part of a public-private partnership.
Today, the Foundation’s annual programme includes events held from Montevideo to Vladivostok, offering an opportunity to bring together global business leaders, experts, the media, and government officials in one place, creating favourable conditions for dialogue and the promotion of new ideas and projects, and assisting in the creation of social enterprise and charity projects.
The State Corporation ‘Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank)’ is a national development bank and one of the largest financial institutions in Russia. Established in 1924, Vnesheconombank has been operating in compliance with the special Federal Law on the Bank for Development since 2007. Vnesheconombank’s supreme governing body is the Supervisory Board headed by the Chairman of the Russian Government Dmitry Medvedev.
In compliance with the Strategy 2021, VEB will focus on financing high value added industrial projects; infrastructure development, non-resource exports, defense industry conversion to civilian products, innovations and National Technological Initiative projects.
VEB will operate at a new level of quality: it will proactively search for projects corresponding to the state’s priorities, thoroughly analyze business projects together with customers, draw private co-investments, and track the implementation of projects with the aid of the latest technologies.
The makers of driverless farm tractors, powerchair drive systems and functional prosthetics have won Vnesheconombank’s Million-Rouble Idea, a game show aired on NTV for two weeks. The prizes were presented by Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The winning project, AgroBot, received 25 million roubles for further business development; the runner-up prize of 20 million roubles went to Una Wheel; the third-place prize of 15 million roubles was given to Motorika.
The final episode was traditionally judged by government officials, representatives of development institutions, business leaders and celebrities. Apart from Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin, the projects submitted for the show were evaluated by Vnesheconombank’s Chairman Sergey Gorkov, General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives Svetlana Chupsheva, Managing Director of Altera Capital Kirill Androsov and actor Ivan Okhlobystin.
More than 500 applications were submitted for participation in the contest; 35 high-technology start-ups were longlisted for the prizes. The winners of seven episodes went through to the final of the show, and the other teams were eliminated. The best three contestants in the Million-Rouble Idea final shared a total of 60 million roubles in prize money.
According to the winning team, their project AgroBot is not limited to their plans to mass-produce robotic tractors. They have a dream of building an ecosystem designed to manage a fleet of vehicles and handle big data, ultimately becoming a smart agricultural producer using systems with minimal human interference.
According to Vnesheconombank’s Chairman Sergey Gorkov, the first start-up game show was so successful that dozens of other Russian innovators were enabled to fulfil their “million-rouble ideas”.
“It seemed unrealistic until quite recently to have such a show aired nationwide. Together with NTV, we did the unthinkable: the destinies of the innovation start-ups captured the attention of viewers. To build a digital economy, it is necessary to revolutionise the public perception. I hope that the project will continue in the second and third seasons,” Sergey Gorkov said.
According to one of the judges, Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin, the television project gives young businesspersons and inventors a unique chance to win through. “Million-Rouble Idea is a generous programme. It is necessary to help everyone involved in science without seeking to benefit from it. Thank God someone is interested in new technologies, and it is possible to find financing. Now the guys can fulfil their potential and carry out their creative plans—this is wonderful,” Ivan Okhlobystin said.
“Throughout the season, it was really exciting to talk to renowned business leaders from among the judges—those who deal in big money—and to those whose entrepreneurial talents are about to change the world. The ideas discussed in the final really belong in the future, and the future is coming before our very eyes!” game show host Sergey Malozyomov said.
Leonid Kazinets, Chairman of the Management Board of Barkli, also spoke about the project’s educational function. “Having your own business is no picnic. First, the Million-Rouble Idea project supports start-ups; second, it makes people want to build up their businesses, invent and promote ideas, look for investors and partners,” Leonid Kazinets said.
Big business also showed great interest in the start-up projects. Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Management Board of SIBUR, is confident that the majors can use these innovations.
“Each project had its own creative features. Sometimes it is interesting to look at new ideas through the eyes of a man involved in big business and working at large companies. At first some of the new solutions seem impractical, but when you begin to analyse them and talk to the teams, you understand that many things they do or see from their own perspective can be used more widely,” Dmitry Konov said.
The Million-Rouble Idea runner-up, Una Wheel, designs powerchair drive systems. They will allow people with disabilities to lead an active life. Significantly, they will be several times cheaper than their existing equivalents. The project team expects to expand the range of its products in the future, including creating devices that will help to carry more weight.
The third-place prize winner, Motorika, designs and creates prostheses for children and adults. Superhero-style functional prosthetics help children with disabilities to participate in all activities at school and in life. Sophisticated bionic prosthetics are intended to assist adults at work.
In addition to prize money for business development, the winning start-ups will be provided with the opportunity to pitch to Russian and foreign investors at the Roscongress Foundation’s forums and the field sessions of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The innovators also received substantial financial support from viewers, who could pay by bank card, by SMS or by digital wallet. More than 1,550 sponsors used the Boomstarter crowdfunding platform to pay over 2.8 million roubles. Financial assistance for some of the projects was 400–600% more than initially asked for.
The Roscongress Foundation will enable the winning start-ups to pitch to Russian and foreign investors at the country’s key economic forums, including the field sessions of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia and abroad. The seven finalists of the show will all be able to take part in Roscongress events under the agreement signed by Vnesheconombank and the Roscongress Foundation during the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi.
The media sponsors of the project were Rambler News Service, Russia’s leading high-technology and innovation media outlet Hightech and the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper.
The Million-Rouble Idea website contains all eight episodes.
State Corporation “Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (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. 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.
NTV is Russia’s largest private television channel with a nationwide broadcasting network. Founded in 1993, the television network operates six NTV-branded channels: NTV, a major nationwide television channel; three subscription-based thematic channels (NTV Serial, NTV Stil and NTV Pravo); international programming (NTV-Mir and NTV-America). NTV broadcasts in all Russian regions, has an audience share of 98.6% and traditionally ranks among Russia’s top three television networks.
The Roscongress Foundation is the largest organiser of conventions and exhibitions.
The Roscongress Foundation was founded in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential and strengthening the country’s image by organising conventions, exhibitions and public events. The Foundation develops substantive content for such events, providing companies and organisations with advice, information and expert guidance, and offering comprehensive evaluation, analysis, and coverage of the Russian and global economic agendas. It offers administrative services and promotional support for business projects and helps to attract investment, including in the form of public-private partnerships.
Today, its annual programme includes events held from Montevideo to Vladivostok, offering an opportunity to bring together global business leaders, experts, the media and government officials in one place, creating favourable conditions for dialogue and the promotion of new ideas and projects, and assisting in the creation of social enterprise and charity projects.
Vnesheconombank and Russian Start-up’s Expert Platform Promoting Expert Services
Vnesheconombank and Expert Me have agreed to cooperate in promoting the Expert Platform, Russia’s leading provider of expertise. “Russian companies and foreign businesses that either have an existing presence in Russia or are looking to gain entry into our market can use the Expert Platform to get first-rate industry expertise from tens of thousands of leading independent consultants as promptly as possible. This also helps Vnesheconombank, as a development institution, to pursue one of its principal goals: creating the conditions for improving the quality of managerial decision-making; obtaining quick, high-quality and affordable expertise for investment projects; setting up high-technology start-ups and optimising the existing production processes in the real economy,” Vnesheconombank’s Senior Vice-President and Expert and Analysis Directorate Head Dmitry Ivanchenko said.
The Expert Platform will bring together business consultants, auditors, production managers, bankers, financiers, IT developers and venture investors. “Early-stage expert support adequately and promptly provided for projects considerably reduces their risks and makes it possible to avoid incorrect market assessments or business model mistakes, understand key factors in success in the niches in the market and create new jobs,” Dmitry Ivanchenko said.
Cooperation with Vnesheconombank provides innovators with new opportunities. “There are plans to reach our ambitious goal of creating the Russian market’s leading platform with fully digitalised services. Expert Me today is 3,000 industry experts, more than 200 completed projects and expert opinions a year. Our clients are companies in the real economy, consultancies. Together with Vnesheconombank, we have plans to increase the number of experts to 50,000 and reach several thousands of expert opinions per year. We are considering a new level in the long run: Russian expert services offered globally,” Expert Me CEO Ilya Bindyuk said.
In contrast to traditional consulting and other solutions, the Expert Platform promoted by Vnesheconombank and Expert Me provides high-quality advice from industry experts and offers prompt and affordable services. The Expert Platform will be of interest to Russian and foreign companies, banks, investment and venture capital funds, financial market participants and federal and regional authorities. The range of services offered is very comprehensive: consulting and auditing for business and financial models, performance evaluation for business units, potential expansion into new markets, market research and foresight, possible operations transformation.
With an annual turnover of more than 500 million US dollars, the expert services market has shown steady growth since 2010. According to IBISWorld, the three largest providers of expertise account for over 75% of the industry’s total revenue in 2017. There has been a trend towards higher market concentration over the past five years. As estimated by market participants, more than 500,000 projects are evaluated by experts networks every year.
Tens of Thousands of Lone Elderly People to Receive New Year Presents
The Enjoyable Aging Charity Foundation initiative to collect New Year presents for lone elderly people was supported by dozens of companies and organisations, including Vnesheconombank and its partners.
The initiative is open to anyone. Participants can personally buy a present and deliver it to any collection point in more than 30 Russian regions, make a donation to the Foundation or play the role of Father Frost. Thousands of lone elderly people have recently sent letters requesting some present or other. Every day the Foundation’s volunteers and partners supporting the initiative deliver small but welcome presents to those who are alone today (detailed information about the initiative can be found the Enjoyable Aging Charity Foundation website).
The Enjoyable Aging Charity Foundation has collected as many as 29,300 presents to date. We are sure that Father Frost will please tens of thousands of elderly people more by New Year’s Eve. Participation in the project is absolutely voluntary and does not mean publicity. The Foundation’s partners supporting the initiative are, however, confident that a good example also deserves to be spoken about.
“The New Year is a time when it is particularly important to let lone elderly people know that we remember and love them; we have organised the collection of New Year presents for them for many years. This year the project became a nationwide initiative of a large number of caring people. We are pleased that dozens of large public organisations, businesses and thousands of people have joined us with the noble aim of giving New Year festivities to the elderly,” Liza Oleskina, Director of the Enjoyable Aging Charity Foundation, said.
Vnesheconombank volunteers provide assistance for more than 850 residents of three retirement homes in the village of Dubna, Tula Region, in the town of Vyshny Volochyok, Tver Region, and in the village of Ostashyovo, Moscow Region. The Tula Region-based nursing home has already received presents from Vnesheconombank employees, and Vyshny Volochyok will be visited by Father Frost this week.
“With a little effort, we can each do a really good deed and help those who actually need it. We held a meeting with our staff members to decide on support for volunteer projects, but participation in volunteer projects is completely voluntary. When a donation comes from a company’s budget, this does not give any energy. When a donation is personally made to someone in need, this is quite a different story. The New Year is coming quickly, and these wintertime festivities have already become warmer for a lot of people,” Vnesheconombank’s Chairman Sergey Gorkov said.
The Enjoyable Aging Charity Foundation initiative has already been supported by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives; Immortal Regiment; Vnesheconombank and its subsidiaries; Gymnasium; Far Eastern Federal University; Trendy Kids, Samara; Dental Fantasy; Child of the Universe; Volunteers of Russia; Lefkadia Valley; Invitro; I love running family; Kids Office; Coffeemania; Philanthropists of Siberia; Moscow Municipal Pedagogical University; National University of Science and Technology MISiS; Moscow Engineering Physics Institute; Moscow Bank of Sberbank; Gorky Park; Russian Post; Russian State Social University; RUSAL; Synergy School of Business; Synergy University; SIRIUS Centre for Education; Skolkovo Foundation; Skolkovo Ventures; Sparta; SPLAT; You Are Not Alone; Horoshkola; Young Army Cadets.
Regional Managers Present Projects for Vnesheconombank’s Portfolio: 112 Applications Received
Vnesheconombank held the second meeting of its regional managers on 18 and 19 December. The event brought together managers from 52 Russian regions of the Russian Federation after a multi-stage selection process, along with representatives of the business community and authorities.
Speaking about the performance of the first batch of selected managers, Vnesheconombank’s Chairman Sergey Gorkov said, “The new operating model has already produced results. Within one and a half months, the Bank received from regional managers as many as 112 applications, including 20 under preliminary examination and three projects in the active development stage already. It is important to understand that Vnesheconombank is looking for high-quality projects that would be consistent with the Bank’s new strategy. The VEB 3.0 Strategy is to build the country’s innovative economy, providing a national platform for the development of public industries. It is a new approach and new kinds of tools.”
“Vnesheconombank has adopted a fresh approach to searching for investment projects and choosing them for the Bank’s lending portfolio, building up a network of its representatives on a nationwide scale. We appointed 84 regional managers in 52 Russian regions. They will select projects with a value of 1 billion roubles or more and with a completion period of five years, which correspond to Vnesheconombank’s new strategic priorities, and projects for the project financing factory. Vnesheconombank’s new model for regional operations is aimed at creating a wide project funnel and looking for projects in the regions. For this purpose, we have regional managers, an online platform and our partners,” Vnesheconombank’s Deputy Chairman and Member of the Board Alexey Ivanchenko, who supervises the project, said.
In recognition of Vnesheconombank’s regional operations, General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives Svetlana Chupsheva said, “We expect to see interesting projects from regional managers as early as next year. The agenda of the next meeting of our Supervisory Board will include remodelling our operations in the regions and changing them to a mechanism similar to Vnesheconombank’s model. It is very important that government officials should understand how to work as a team. And above all, government officials view businesspeople as partners. This project-based approach is beginning to take shape. We see this in practice.”
In his speech, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov noted, “Vnesheconombank has great significance to transport development, particularly at regional level.” Maxim Sokolov told the audience about strategic planning documents, described transport infrastructure development, and spoke of the goals of the new transport strategy until 2035. “In early 2018, together with the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance, we will prioritise the projects on the principle that a greater effect should be achieved with less government spending,” he said.
Speaking about the problems in the implementation of investment projects, Chairman of the Financial Markets Committee of the State Duma Anatoly Aksakov said, “Businesses usually criticise credit institutions, referring to their projects that banks cannot finance. … Syndication and securitisation will enable us to have more resources to finance projects.”
Novgorod Region Governor Andrey Nikitin drew attention to the basic principles of regional investment policies. In his opinion, there are only four of them: resources, competencies, logistics and geographies, along with government support.
Speaking about risks associated with new business projects, Director of the Internet Initiatives Development Fund Kirill Varlamov said, “In the case of a start-up, you should always be prepared for a failure and mentally admit it. The paradigm of project management does not work very well here.”
Kirill Androsov, Managing Director of Altera Capital, spoke about the most difficult stage of a start-up business, from seed capital to Series A financing. Most start-ups fail to reach the end of this period. “The conversation with a project initiator begins with the product. They must answer a simple question: ‘What is the product that you are selling?’ If within five minutes I can’t understand what they are talking about or what they are selling, it’s like a red signal for me. If I can’t understand it, it is unlikely that it will be understood by a wide range of B2B or B2C customers. The second question is about the market. The market should be large, growing and global,” Kirill Androsov said.
During the event, Vnesheconombank signed agreements with the second and third batches of selected regional managers and gave them certificates. From that moment, regional managers became official representatives of Vnesheconombank.