Sochi forum to lure big business fish

Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi is hosting its sixth annual International Investment Forum this week. The region is looking to attract more than $US 40 billion in investment over the next five years, as it prepares to host the Winter Olympic Games

The forum in Sochi set to start on September 20 is an opportunity for business leaders to strike multi-billion deals.

And organising the event is anything but cheap, says Natalya Borisova, deputy chair of the National Agency for Direct Investment: “It is difficult to estimate the total cost of the event, but our organisation is in charge of all events that have to do with Russia's southern regions – and that's around $US 2 million,” she estimates.

Rent at the forum pavilion can be anywhere from $US 150 to $US 4,000 a square metre. The price depends on how sophisticated the stand is and what sort of technology is used.

One of the most sophisticated stands represents the Rostov region. It showcases a mini-golf course featuring live fish.

While the Krasnoyarsk region’s stand displays an imitation of the aurora borealis – northern lights.

Aleksandr Vikhrov, Uralsib Executive Director believes the event is a good business opportunity: “There are a lot of people and a lot of offers. You can call this a bazaar, and just like at a bazaar, the winners are those who know how to sell their products.”

The event organisers hope all the cash put into the forum will pay off.

The region as a whole is expected to attract an estimate $US 43 billion over the next five years. That should be enough to make Russia’s south a beacon of the country’s economic development.