English language service creates a business for those with drive

Rebounding consumer demand is expected to put the service sector, in which a small niche market exists for English language services, in the spotlight. Despite the downturn, it is rewarding those with initiative.

Michael Gibson, Advertising Creative Director, first came to Russia 14 years ago. He's been driving in Moscow pretty much ever since, and says having a car is a necessity – especially in winter weather.

"When you have a car in just improves the quality of life. You don't have to traipse through the dirt and the mud, in the cold, and everything."

Driving lessons provided in English – his native tongue – have helped him manoeuvre through some serious road hazards. Offering a service in Russia in a foreign language sometimes takes a bit of personal incentive. Natalia Donnelly, COO of Driving Art, found herself providing some for her husband

"It all started with my husband who having 25 years of driving experience just refused to drive. So I decided to send him to school."

Analysts say the recent economic downturn means fewer entrepreneurs eager to invest in new projects. But Russia is still a market open to growth according to Tremayne Elson, Regional Managing Director at Antal.

"Nothing is saturated in this country – that's why it represents such a huge opportunity for people. In many markets, there aren't any providers – whether they're in the native language or in English. So the market is wide open.”

As Russia emerges from the global recession, it's anticipated that disposable incomes will reappear. And when that happens, it could just be the time for specialized services to drive on full speed ahead.