On the 30th October 2018, students at Imperial College Business School participated in an engagement at the Embassy of Russia in London, where business opportunities in Russia were discussed. Led by Alexander Novikov, First Secretary and Denis Piminov, Head of Economic Affairs, this unique opportunity gave us a platform to explore economics, business opportunities and international relations outside of a classroom setting.
This engagement was organized by myself, Illya Pike a student on MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management, and our Programme Manager Abdus Salam. The intention was to bring together students with differing opinions from a wide variety of Business School programmes with a shared interest in Russia.
Embassy staff representing the press and economics departments kindly welcomed us. There was then a brief introduction to the roles and responsibilities that embassy departments were responsible for and how the diplomatic mission functioned as a unit.
The status quo included the economic and political aspects of the Russian Federation and its relations with the rest of the world. Amongst the topics discussed were the support that new businesses can expect to receive in Russia. These include tax incentive schemes and further government assistance to businesses operating in special economic zones.
With many unexplored regions with unique opportunities, Russia’s business environment is unique, to say the least. These regions are managed by regional administrations that encourage anyone that can bring economic and social benefits to expatriate here.
There are many opportunities for international businesses in the Russian Federation from large corporations to startups. This is largely due to the many ambitious projects that the country is currently undertaking. One example would be the new Moscow International Business Centre, a development that is aimed at helping Moscow become a global financial centre.
The focus then shifted to the topic of innovation; we discussed how projects like the Skolkovo Innovation Centre, a high-tech business-focused area in the Moscow Region is being developed. From this, we learned that technology innovation is well supported throughout Russia outside tier one cities. For instance, projects such as Innopolis are being implemented to test new and innovative ways for smart cities to develop through economies based on high-tech industries.
Russia’s willingness to work with business-minded people is one of the reasons for its success in building strong trade ties with China. This has culminated in record high trade turnovers this year. In particular, the export of raw material, oil, and gas have played an important role in Russia’s aims to diversify the economy. Nevertheless, there are also many other emerging industries such as renewable energy and space technology that would soon benefit from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome.
The Russian economy is undergoing change, it is also growing and adapting to the new political and trade environment. We were also pleased to learn that the Trade Delegation of the Russian Federation in the UK, as well as the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, can assist and facilitate cooperation between businesses located in Russia and the UK.
Countries can succeed and build projects by embracing new technology, establishing cooperation with diverse partners and creating generous incentives for others to enter their domestic markets. This is congruent with the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management programme at Imperial that encourages the use of new technology, diversity and value creation as a tool to achieve business and project success.