RUSSIA FORUM BUZZ. Russian Entrepreneurs: The New Leaders
The panel discussed the prerequisites required to be a successful entrepreneur in Russian society. The general consensus was that the absence or presence of state support for entrepreneurial activities is of relatively minor importance. Factors that are more important are the presence of some inherent “drive” for doing things, “early years” (i.e. the learning stages of life and early stages of professional activities), acceptance of entrepreneurial activities by society, formation of the correct set of values of success that are accepted by society, and the return that entrepreneurs have to provide to society. The panelists agreed that entrepreneurs should be attached to the country where they live, fully accept the values of this society and eventually serve for the country’s prosperity.
Most panelists expressed the opinion that the current economic situation presented Russian self-employed businessmen with a set of challenges, which, however, come with new opportunities. Many entrepreneurs with existing projects in Russia’s real economy are feeling a lack of supportive funding, and this is very painful for the businesses that were launched a year or two ago and have been relying on the premise that funding would be available in the future. Larger companies with rigid corporate structures that, according to some panelists, provide perfect “real life, post-graduate” education for the young talented people, who completed their formal education, are cutting their uptake of new employees, thus denying the existing talent the opportunity to receive “real life” education. At the same time, reduced opportunities of formal employment present young talented people with a chance to embark on entrepreneurial activities in the early stages of their lives.
An important issue that was actively discussed during the panel was the ability to assume risk, which is an essential part of a successful entrepreneur. In a crisis environment, failures are quite common. Meanwhile, all panelists agreed about the importance of failure as a valuable experience for any entrepreneur. Either success or failure being the internal driving force, Mark Kurzer, professor of the Center of Family Planning and Reproduction offered the following advice: “It is very important not to overestimate your abilities. I have seen many cases in my life, and many of them ended quite sadly”.
Ruben Vardanian, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Troika Dialog Group
Armen Garo, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Antigenics
Anatoly Karachinsky, President, IBS Group Holding
Mark Kurtser, Professor, Chief Physician, Center of Family Planning & Reproduction
Mikhail Kusnirovich, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bosco di Ciliegi Group of Companies
Leonid Melamed, President, JSC “Effortel”
Andrei Volkov, Dean, Moscow School of Management Skolkovo