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11 Oct, 2010 10:24

Skolkovo on centre stage as venture capitalists come to look around

The Russian capital is welcoming a delegation of venture capitalists Silicon Valley in the U.S. headed by California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger

The delegation will take part in the “Global Innovative partnership” innovation forum organized by the Skolkovo fund and Global Technology Symposium with the support of the Silicon Valley Bank. The delegates held talks on Russia’s innovative potential and the ways the development of Skolkovo – often dubbed Russia’s Silicon Valley – can learn from the experience in the United States.

Alexandra Johnson, President of Global Technology Symposium, says Russia can boost its high tech sector – if it focuses on the business model, and avoids trying to blindly imitate Silicon Valley.

“All the countries in the world would like at some point to replicate Silicon Valley. I personally don’t think that Silicon Valley can be replicated. There are elements which work and these elements are: good education, science centers, entrepreneurs and of course investors and venture capital is something which puts it all together. So I would imagine that if these elements are implicated it should work in any place in the world – obviously in Russia with this huge talent.”

Gary Fowler CEO of Fowler International says that Russia's innovation potential is among the best in the world.

“If you look at Moscow and if we just look at the infrastructure here in place, the cars that are here – What we see is more potential in Russia than any other place on the planet. Quantifiably there is not an exact number, but there is just a feeling that’s here. I have talked to some of the top venture capitalists in the delegation and they are very very impressed with what they see.”

Viktor Vekselberg, Head of Rusnano and of Skolkovo Innovative project, says that Skolkovo is exactly the right place where Russia’s innovation potential can be brought to with the help of talented scientists and business leaders. Vekselberg emphasized that it is not just another research center, but that it is established to provide a practical implementation of draft projects along with global scientific research.

“The main task of Skolkovo is to bring technologies into the market and into the Russian economy, and all our efforts will be focused on this. That is why nobody should think that this project is an alternative to existing research centers. It’s just a logical development of existing innovation projects.”

Anatoly Chubais, General director of Rosnano says that the ongoing cooperation between the business communities in the US and Russia was a key step in delivering an economic outcome.

“The working meeting of representatives of investment and business communities the U.S. and Russia have become a tradition – the current event is the third in the last six months. This clearly illustrates the mutual interest of our countries to cooperate in the innovative development. The first practical results of cooperation are obvious: high-tech concentration of joint projects to create new international investment funds. I am sure that combining the financial resources and human potential, we will be able to run in Russia the mechanism of innovation-based economy, effectively implement the technology, and market potential of high technology."