Leaders of tomorrow in St Petersburg

Young business people have been getting together in St Petersburg to swap ideas at the International youth economic forum.

For these young go-getting business people it’s all about innovation and modernization. New Media Manager Alyona Popova says she believes in the crowdsourcing model, where assignments are sent out to videomakers which are then syndicated online – a marketing tool of the contemporary age.

“I believe in crowdsourcing model, you know. I believe that we will work with foreign experts and create a future ideas and internet sphere. I believe in it because this is the future.”

Aleksandr Debelov, CEO of Crelligence Media, which has created a filmmaker community and posts selected videos to a range of blogs, social media sites, and online audience venues, is excited about the diminishing timeframe needed to make a billion dollar company.

“Twenty years ago when it took a hundred years to build up a billion dollar company – today you can do it in five years. And in the future I believe you can do it in one or two.”

Venture capitalists, hi-tech entrepreneurs, media project managers – the oldest is no more then 30 years old. But there are older and wiser heads present, to reign in some of the excesses of youthful exuberance. There, to offer advice and to discuss the future of business in Russia and beyond was John Pepper -chairman of board of Walt Disney. He says that the young Russians are similar to their counterparts in the US but with more determination.

“The number who came up to me afterwards – I wasn't a bit surprised at that. Now would that happen in the US? Yes, but even more here, that people would be coming up, wanting to learn the ideas. And then once into something, I've seen to a greater degree, generalising a sense of dogged determination to make something happen.”

Unfortunately these youngsters are not the norm for Russian youth. According to a recent survey, 90% of young people in this country would like to work in big state corporations and in banks rather than start up their own company. They look to others to break new ground.

Less sceptical than older businessmen – these young entrepreneurs genuinely believe in the Russian government’s initiative to innovate and modernise the Russian economy. Maybe they will be part of the first Russian generation who have initial hopes of capitalist success that do not end in disappointment.