Where does the 44.6 billion revenue from Skolkovo come from?

At Megamind, many questions were raised by the article “The revenue of Skolkovo projects is growing faster than the plan . Since our company is a member of the Skolkovo IT cluster, I want to shed light on these figures. I must say right away that if you understand the numbers in terms of common sense (personally mine), then there is no such revenue, as there are no new jobs. Now let's figure it out in order.

As it should be understood, "Almost 13 thousand new highly qualified jobs have been created."
The concept of “New jobs” from the point of view of common sense means that if there were no jobs before, and then they appeared, then these are “new” jobs. If in one place a workplace appeared, and in another it disappeared, then new jobs did not arise. Right? In Skolkovo, they simply accept already existing companies (they are called start-ups there) that existed earlier, they simply were on their own before, and then became participants in Skolkovo. In fact, this is the movement of a highly skilled workplace in the country, but not the creation of a “new workplace”. We can also assume that the emphasis here is on the term “highly qualified”, but can you imagine that the company, which underwent a rigorous examination and was selected at Skolkovo, had previously employees, working as janitors? Or before Skolkovo they were unemployed? Therefore, in fact, in my opinion, Skolkovo does not create any “new” jobs, including highly qualified ones.

Now let’s look at where the revenue of 44.6 billion came from in Skolkovo.
Skolkovo primarily accepts companies that already have a fairly well-developed product and have revenue. But in order for them to engage exclusively in research activities and its commercialization (these are prerequisites), all companies are edited the charter, exclude from there trade and other activities not related to innovation. A company that does not have its own revenue cannot exist in Skolkovo, because only about 20% of the participants received grants there. The rest live on their own revenues, some on external investments, and about half of them simply do nothing, because there is no money, and slowly leave from there. Naturally, the companies receive this revenue not from the work that they do when they are in Skolkovo, and from the sale (from "commercialization" - the term "Skolkovo") of innovative products that were developed before joining Skolkovo. The reports do not separately highlight revenue received as a reaction to the infusion of Skolkovo grants or revenue received from projects that were developed while the company was in Skolkovo. Maybe this also includes attracted investments - I don’t know, but investments are not revenue. That is, if, from the point of view of common sense, Skolkovo should show in its reports what revenue startups received in response to the infusion of grants or from the sale of the products that they developed as participants in Skolkovo (and not before), then such an account is not kept at Skolkovo and such figures are not published. In other words,

The second nuance is that Skolkovo’s revenue is growing not only because they create a new product and sell it, but mainly because they accept new members who already have revenue and include this revenue in their annual reports. Therefore, it is natural that the number of participants increases over time, and therefore Skolkovo's annual revenue is growing.

Thus, in fact, the “Revenue of the project participants” is the annual revenue of the firms that were accepted at Skolkovo and the bulk of which they had received before. How much it has grown or decreased during their stay in Skolkovo is unknown, i.e. this revenue cannot be considered a merit of Skolkovo and cannot be indicated in Skolkovo reports, because it misleads the reader.

Now let’s analyze what “Innovation” is.From the point of view of Skolkovo, this is not just a product that was not previously on the market or different from what it was, but a development in which there is scientific novelty. For example, if you received a dozen patents for a product, then from the point of view of Skolkovo this does not mean that this product is innovative. Skolkovo has its own understanding of innovation. When we first tried to join Skolkovo, I wrote a project to create a new series of industrial controllers, because we have been working in this market for a long time, we know it and understand that it will find demand. However, such a project was not accepted. Then I wrote a bunch of formulas, gave links to my published article in IEEE, where scientific novelty was clearly highlighted - and such a project was accepted. And the fact that no one will buy this product due to low profitability - they are not at all interested in it.

There is still a very interesting nuance: such companies as Microsoft, Apple, Google, when they were start-ups, would not satisfy the Skolkovo criteria, because they developed solely thanks to the commercial ideas and energy of their leaders, and the business in its infancy was based on widely known technologies and was not innovative in the sense of Skolkovo. Recall what Apple grew up on - even before its appearance, dozens of personal computers were manufactured by companies. Apple did not have innovative ideas in the sense of Skolkovo - their success was based on user friendliness, design, and most importantly, Steve Jobs’s commercial streak. There were no “new technologies, new research, new tools”, etc., see the list of “new” on the Skolkovo website sk.ru/foundation/itc/p/directions.aspx, i.e. there was no innovation in the sense of Skolkovo.

As for Google, long before it existed Yahoo, Infoseek and even Yandex. From the point of view of the user, Google was distinguished only by a sonorous, easily remembered name. This was the reason for their success, as well as the energy of the founders. But innovation in the sense of Skolkovo was not there. In any case, the Google user did not know anything about their innovations when he switched to them from other search engines.

One more funny thing. Skolkovo has a template for applying for a grant. So, there you will have to describe what revenue you will receive from the sale of an innovative product that has not yet been developed in a year, two, three, etc. up to five after its development. If someone was doing business, then he can laugh at it from the heart. The fact is that in the Skolkovo grant committee from the very beginning there were well-known respected scientists, academics, and heads of state corporations, but there was not a single entrepreneur who would ever organize his own innovative business. Hence the desire to support projects in which there is a share of science, despite the fact that everyone is well aware that the eternal problem of Russia was the inability to implement the results of candidate and doctoral dissertations, because science does not use the concept of product profitability.

It’s also hard for me to believe in the seriousness of the state’s intentions regarding Skolkovo, because the amount of money allocated to startups is ridiculously small - for some officials and heads of state corporations the annual income is more than the amount of grants given to Skolkovo to all of its participants for the year.

In general, the Skolkovo project is very necessary for Russia, we have all been waiting for it for a long time. But in the form as it exists today, the effectiveness of public investment is extremely low. I think that under the existing conditions, one in a hundred Skolkovo firms will be able to “break out into people,” and it would be possible to increase this figure to at least one in ten. Fortunately, two entrepreneurs have recently appeared in the Grant Committee. I hope that over time there will be more of them, and Skolkovo’s policy and reporting will be more economically correct.

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