REC and VEB Addressed Preliminary Results of National Project for Development of Non-Commodity Exports
The Russian Export Center made public the preliminary results of the Project Workshop set up to compile a national program for the development of non-commodity export. The venue was attended by Head of Vnesheconombank Igor Shuvalov.
He stressed that per annum $250 billion worth of non-commodity exports, as targeted by President Vladimir Putin in his May Decree, is a difficult but attainable goal. Vnesheconombank considers further increase of the non-commodity exports as one of its key priorities.
“We ought to invest into the projects that will promote the country’s economic development including our exports. In order for Russia to achieve the rate of economic growth higher than that of the world we need to conquer new markets. As regards Vnesheconombank per se and its projects, — it is rendering budget support, it is providing guarantees and insurance by the REC, and it is utilizing the facilities of the SME Corporation. Further expansion of export opportunities implies manufacture of high-quality competitive products inside Russia, creation of new jobs, and improvement of quality of life of our citizens. On Monday, the Presidium of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects under the leadership of Dmitry Medvedev will be held with all these issues on its agenda,” Igor Shuvalov emphasized.
Equally essential is optimization of logistics. “Logistics is important not only for moving goods, but also for making all the necessary payments — both tax fees and customs duties, for ensuring transparent transition of goods to the territory of the Eurasian Union. First of all, we should eliminate the existing bottlenecks to secure nonstop passage of goods. This is not just exports or imports. This is foreign trade and protection of the interests of national manufacturers,” Igor Shuvalov noted.
“The tasks set by the President in the framework of his instructions for increasing the volume of non-commodity non-energy exports imply the need to further improve the existing support tools and develop new mechanisms. Adjustments of the regulatory system, too, will be required, and we should give more attention to the state budget support measures. Support of exporters is a complex task involving the institutions of growth and development, ministries and departments concerned. It will be necessary to engage both major federal and regional companies. After all, the ambitious goal to double the volume of our non-commodity exports within six years will necessitate creation of new jobs, require increased influx of foreign currency earnings, and development of associated industries in the Russian Federation. The project workshop is an open dialogue of all the parties involved in the process. It is only in such format that we will be able to work out high-quality effective development programs,” said REC General Director Andrei Slepnev.
Within the framework of the Project Workshop, three primary sectoral groups have been formed: manufacturing industry, agriculture, and services, we well as five “servicing” groups: export regulation, financial and non-financial support measures, international trade logistics, the EEU and international barriers, and the national promotion system.
“A Million Dollar Idea” : VEB and NTV Evaluated Startups from Kaliningrad
Twenty technology companies of the North-West Federal District presented their designs and ideas to the panel of experts of the “Million Dollar Idea” TV show whose new season to be aired this fall. In the focus of most projects are transport and automotive industry including, for example, private car rental service, “smart” bus stops using green renewable energy, a camper vehicle, etc.
“The Kaliningrad region is one of the most efficient ecosystems in terms of development of prospective information technologies. Predilection for new technologies in the region is, in particular, conducive to the development of innovations. A great number of startups have begun implementing their pilot projects in Kaliningrad. Several companies have found market for their products abroad,” say Alexey Ivanchenko, Deputy Chairman of Vnesheconombank and Member of the Management Board.
“The region proved to be quite attractive offering good opportunities for project development and generation of business ideas. There are some promising businesses with good export potential, such the Observer company that has designed a wheelchair with off-road capability. Benelux is likely to become a promising market for this startup where camping tourism is highly developed; Netherlands is known for its sand dunes impassable for ordinary wheelchairs. We are ready to present this project to our colleagues from the Russian Export Center and provide support for its accession to international markets,” says Oleg Teplov, CEO of the VEB Innovations.
One more promising startup demonstrated at the casting audition is a project developed by “Prefab Roads” startup. Its members designed original pavement surface course consisting of prefabricated segments that can be laid on soft soils without any base course. The latter is not needed because the surface course is designed so as to disperse the load on soil: particularly, if the load acting upon the pavement equals 10 tons, soil underneath will be subject to a load of merely 25 grams. According to the project designers, Russia has 610,000 km of public roads of which less than 5% are built on the base course of reinforced concrete materials, while Russia’s current requirement for paved roads is 1.5 million kilometers. In the estimates of the innovative “Prefab Roads” designers, the annual market volume for such roads may be ca. 25 billion rubles. The Innovation Promotion Foundation financed the development of this innovative solution, and the construction of a pilot section of such a road is already underway in Kaliningrad.
This fall, the first “smart” bus stop will be opened in Kaliningrad — this news was brought by representatives of the “AlexTech” company during their presentation at the casting audition. So far, it is rated as a social design, its potential customer being the city administration. Oleg Teplov, CEO of the VEB Innovations, invited the company to demonstrate the design prototype at its working stage. It may be interesting for Viman Capital — a joint Russian-Indian direct investment fund in the sphere of innovation and technology, which was recently set up by the VEB and the SREI — leading Indian Infrastructure Finance Limited.
The “MOAR Stack” company is involved in developing a protocol for connecting the IoT devices. According to the designers, the existing networks do not have sufficient capacity for the development of the IoT market. The solution lies in a set of network protocols using machine learning for routing the so-called “smart” devices. This product can be used in the “smart” cities’ infrastructure as well as for solving the IoT industrial problems. The Kaliningrad Region has started a “Digital Control” facility to regulate housing construction and public utilities infrastructure. It currently serves the needs of five households, each operating 8-10 IoT devices. By the end of the year, 600 more houses are scheduled to connect to the network.
One more interesting project for the automotive industry was presented by the “GeoCamper” company. They build fiberglass living modules for private vehicles converting them into a full-fledged “camper.” The module is equipped with an autonomous diesel heater system, which is independent from the engine, crowned with solar battery fitted on the roof. This is an export-oriented enterprise aimed at the European market.
“The peculiarity of Kaliningrad regional business is that a great number of projects are export-oriented. In addition, strength of the regional IT-businesses is in their ability to create products competitive both at Russian and foreign markets. Our regional economy is not made up of big vertically integrated companies or monopolies. We have many classical small and medium-sized businesses,” says Alexander Yudin, head of Department for Work with the Chamber Members and Business Support of the Kaliningrad of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.