The digest of Russian programs for supporting IT startups # 2

    In this issue of our digest, we continue to acquaint readers with a variety of Russian programs for supporting IT startups. Today, as in the first issue, we are discussing the connection between such support programs and higher education. Unlike the first issue, today we will talk exclusively about business incubators, including regional ones.

    Although adherents of the classical approach to education believe that during the period of study at the university it is necessary to devote as much time directly to study as possible, representatives of the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) last year noted a phenomenal growth in entrepreneurial projects among students and even high school students.

    A significant part of our interviews in the current issue of the digest will be devoted to this topic - representatives of business incubators will express their opinion on this topic. And we’ll talk about how to start acquaintance with specific entrepreneurship support programs and whether to “aim” to participate in a particular program if you are not a university student at which this program exists.

    In this issue:

    Business incubators

    Design business incubator MSTU. Bauman supports student groups and individual entrepreneurs and provides them with technological, financial and other types of services (in addition to directly providing jobs in the premises of MSTU). The business incubator puts the formation of the competencies of successful innovation managers as its main task. In addition, during 2014, the incubator team carried out a contract with MSTU. N.E. Bauman with the Moscow Government to create a Center for the Development of Youth Entrepreneurship in the Field of Radio Electronics.

    The Tambov business incubator "Innovatika" provides residents with consulting, legal, marketing services and provides space for work. First of all, the incubator focuses on the development of scientific schools (in the fields of construction, architecture, thermophysics, automation, energy, engineering, biochemistry) and the strengthening of their ties with the market, attracting TSTU employees and local representatives of companies from high-tech industries to assist.

    The Tomsk business incubator Druzhba is focused on supporting projects in IT and radio electronics. A separate building is allocated to the business incubator, in which office space is provided to residents, as well as a range of services: from assistance in the commercialization of innovations to accounting and marketing support.

    The business incubator of the Kazan technology park IT Park is a business platform for the development of IT entrepreneurship. In addition to providing infrastructure, the incubator team helps startups refine the product, attract investment, find partners and customers. Among the opportunities provided by the incubator, there are not only service and consulting services, but also support for the promotion of companies, including assistance in disseminating information about the startup and its product to the media and developing the corporate identity of the company.

    The business incubator of the Tyumen technopark “West Siberian Innovation Center” provides state support to small and medium-sized businesses in the field of scientific, scientific, technical and innovative activities. Incubation of projects lasts 3 years, during which residents receive office space, consulting and accounting services, as well as assistance in finding investors and clients.

    Our questions to program representatives:

    1. How would you rate the participation of university students in the direct activities of an incubator? Is there an opportunity to participate for teams not directly related to the university?

    Victor Malinin, head of the project business incubator, MSTU Bauman
    Since our Project Business Incubator is funded by our university, the presence of a student, graduate student or graduate of the last year of study in the team is mandatory.

    At the same time, according to the state contract, we are implementing a program of the Government of Moscow to support youth entrepreneurship. A more reduced training and counseling program is introduced there than the one that exists with us. According to the contract, within the framework of this program, residents of the city of Moscow under 35 are trained. According to statistics, during the program that we are implementing during 2014, about 50% of the people who studied were not “Baumans”.

    Mikhail Istomin, director of the business incubator "Innovatika" (TSTU, Tambov)
    Throughout the year, we organize many events (mainly related to project expertise), as well as training on the basics of business and team building, in which our guys actively participate. Actually, we were created for this.

    Anton Titkov, director of the Druzhba business incubator (TUSUR, Tomsk)
    We have many students participating in resident projects. There are teams in which 5-7 students work. There are projects completely founded and developed by students. It's great! But it is not necessary to be a student of TUSUR in order to come to our incubator. We are open to all. But so it goes without saying that 80% of the projects are TUSUR.

    Lenar Khalikov, head of the business incubator of the IT park technology park (Kazan)
    The business incubator of the IT park is not an internal unit of any university, but an infrastructure center, which is open for IT innovators from any educational institution, as well as for independent teams. The mission of the Business Incubator is to stimulate total IT entrepreneurship. We provide an opportunity to successfully commercialize our business idea to everyone. For this, it is only necessary to pass the selection.

    There is no age limit. The youngest resident at the time of the selection was 13 years old, and the oldest was well over 40. Our goal is to help form young companies, bring their solutions to the market, and this has nothing to do with age or affiliation with any university. Potential investors, in the presence of an intelligent team and a worthwhile idea, often do not pay attention to such things.

    Andrey Vokhmintsev, project manager of the West Siberian Innovation Center (Tyumen)
    Students, as well as graduate students and representatives of universities, are employees of resident companies of the business incubator. In addition, university students regularly take an active part in events organized by the Technopark business incubator, such as Open Day, Youth Innovation Week in the Tyumen Region, and competitive programs as part of the work of the Representative Office of the Fund for the Promotion of Small Business Development in Scientific and Technical sphere (SMART, START) and many others. In addition, Technopark is the curator of the public organization "Club of UMNIKov of the Tyumen Region", which unites the winners of the Assistance Fund program.

    A resident of a business incubator can be any small business entity (individual entrepreneur, legal entity) engaged in research and development without reference to a specific educational institution or enterprise.

    2. What specialized areas of activity do you support? Are there any intersections with the direction of specialist training at the university?

    Victor Malinin, head of the project business incubator, MSTU Bauman
    We cannot support that which we ourselves are not competent. For MSTU them. N.E. Bauman's “own” can be called the following areas: engineering, instrumentation, medical equipment, software, engineering technology. Actually, these are the topics of our projects in a business incubator. We have several examples when students developed a business on the basis of their course or diploma projects or did term papers and diploma projects on the topic of their business.

    Mikhail Istomin, director of the business incubator "Innovatika" (TSTU, Tambov)
    Since we are a university business incubator, we support the areas that are at our university. Historically, teams that are not associated with a university are turning to the Tambov Regional Business Incubator.

    Anton Titkov, director of the Druzhba business incubator (TUSUR, Tomsk)
    We are engaged in IT and hardware projects, which completely intersects with the specialization of our university.

    Lenar Khalikov, head of the business incubator of the IT park technology park (Kazan)
    We support projects in the field of new search and recognition systems; new development and testing tools; communications and navigation technologies; new ways of storing, processing and transmitting data; new high-performance computing and data storage systems; information security technologies; cloud computing; processing and analysis of large data arrays; new human machine interfaces. All these areas are directly related to such specialties as “applied computer science” or “software engineering”.

    However, one of the most important details in the project is the potential commercialization of a startup on the market. Since we do not provide direct investment for projects, when selecting new residents, we focus on experts whom we invite from among venture funds and business angels. High-tech projects involving long investments or only public benefit are not interesting to them. Such projects have a direct road to the research institute.

    That is why more than half of the managers of startup projects of the IT Park Business Incubator do not have a specialized education. Yes, they have programming skills, but not at the level to create something fundamentally unique. Most of them have another talent - organizational, which allows them to unite the people necessary for the implementation of the project in one team.

    Andrey Vokhmintsev, project manager of the West Siberian Innovation Center (Tyumen)
    Initially, the West Siberian Innovation Center specialized in projects in the field of hydrocarbon production and processing. Subsequently, this narrow specialization was expanded by projects from other areas. Currently, residents of the business incubator are companies involved in the development of projects in various fields: information technology, medicine, agriculture, construction, robotics, ecology, instrumentation and some related areas. Technopark support can be obtained from projects in any field designated by the President of the Russian Federation as a priority. Of course, many specialties of Tyumen universities train specialized specialists in demand by resident companies of a business incubator.

    3. What event or program is the best place to start getting to know your organization?

    Mikhail Istomin, director of the business incubator "Innovatika" (TSTU, Tambov)
    It all started with the program U.M.N.I.K. Then we began to actively participate (and sometimes organize on our base) in the activities of the Zvorykinsky project - FADM "Rosmolodezh". We also travel to various forums in other regions.

    Anton Titkov, director of the Druzhba business incubator (TUSUR, Tomsk)
    We are constantly hosting various events: open lectures, hackathons, seminars, etc. Something happens every week. In addition, we have our own acceleration program, in which you must participate!

    Lenar Khalikov, head of the business incubator of the IT park technology park (Kazan)
    We have many diverse alternatives: hackathons, workshops, Science slam events, Startup Sabantuy expedition, Kazan Startup Week, quarterly selection to the Business Incubator. We are constantly looking for new contacts with young entrepreneurs in the field of information technology and are focused on creating an environment for the successful development of startups.

    Andrey Vokhmintsev, project manager of the West Siberian Innovation Center (Tyumen)
    Acquaintance with the Technopark is best to start at the traditional "Open Doors Day". Many students of educational institutions get acquainted with the activities of the incubator and its residents as part of excursions for schoolchildren. If we talk about a startup, it is better to start it with the program of the UMNIK Assistance Fund, which selects winners twice a year - in spring and autumn.

    4. How do you feel about working on your own project while studying at a university? Is it possible to interact with graduates and attract them to your programs after graduation?

    Mikhail Istomin, director of the business incubator "Innovatika" (TSTU, Tambov)
    Children involved in scientific and innovative activities, by definition, have their own project. Those who continue to work on the project after graduation either defend a dissertation (such as the majority), or create (or participate in the activities) of a small innovative enterprise.

    Anton Titkov, director of the Druzhba business incubator (TUSUR, Tomsk)
    We are only positive about working on our project while studying. It’s like in sports. The sooner you start and will constantly improve, the faster mastery will come, and you will do something really cool and working. Our graduates are active participants in the Tomsk IT cluster and participate in all our events as speakers, mentors and investors.

    Lenar Khalikov, head of the business incubator of the IT park technology park (Kazan)
    Working on your own startup while studying is a kind of interactive way of learning. We are 100% convinced of this. It is in a startup that entrepreneurship skills are developed. Both university students and graduates are one of our target audiences. We successfully work with them and engage in the business environment.

    So, in some universities and schools of Tatarstan, in the process of training, children try to create startups. It is likely that the first time few will succeed in building a money-generating project. The main thing here is experience. There are examples when school and student teams started making money in our business incubator with a third or fourth startup.

    Andrey Vokhmintsev, project manager of the West Siberian Innovation Center (Tyumen)
    Work on a specific task at a university is an integral step in the preparation of a qualified specialist, but not all course and diploma projects can turn into a real business. The relevance of undergraduate / graduate work and the prospect of its commercialization at the initial stage are assessed by university professors at scientific and practical conferences.

    The winners of the university events are sent to the Technopark to participate in the final selection of the “UMNIK” program. Finalists receive a grant for the development of their project, become members of the UMNIK Club, where they learn the basics of creating a business, after which many guys apply for the Technopark's expert council and quite often become residents of a business incubator. In addition, the West Siberian Innovation Center is in close cooperation with the university's business incubators and technology parks, whose residents often "get a residence permit" in the Tyumen Technopark business incubator.

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