Maria Netaeva, a 20-something public relations professional for Russian technology consultancy and accelerator Global TechInnovations (GTI), demonstrates the innate entrepreneurial spirit of many Russians, which for years was suppressed, by holding out her hand to hail a car. “You don’t need a taxi,” she said “many people like to earn a little extra money.” Three beaten-up cars pull over and she haggles for a ride. Netaeva is part of a new generation of Russians, excited by innovation and entrepreneurship. She is so keen to learn that she travels from Moscow to London once a month to study an MBA at Hult International Business School at her own expense and using valuable vacation days. Netaeva and her colleagues work within the innovation puzzle of the Russian Federation, which could be likened to a Russian doll – multiple faces,some prettier than others. As the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (see box) showed, relative to other countries the ugly dolls include inefficiencies in goods, labour and financial markets and low trust in the financial system. On the prettier side, overall for competitiveness, Russia ranks 67th out of 144 countries globally and, within that calculation, 54th for higher education and training – indeed Russian scientists and engineers are admired around the globe. Russia is the world’s seventh-largest market, although its physical size – Moscow is more than twice as far from Vladivostok as it is from London – and the harsh climate provide yet more challenges… For the full article please go to page 35 of our February magazine.
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Russian spirit warms to innovation
Feb 8, 2013 • Tim Lafferty
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