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03:21 | Dec 01 | 2012

Uniting science and business

How technopark “Yakutia” would impact the innovative future of the Republic.

A fancy word “technopark” found in our Republic no less fancy and highly valuable content: officials claim that the technopark “Yakutia” would be a powerful platform for the launch of new innovative projects in such sectors as energy saving and energy efficiency, biotechnology (agro-biotechnology and biomedical technology), transport and transport infrastructure, construction and building materials and information technology.

From sketch to customer
The Yakut technopark will give an opportunity for the development of not only necessary for the life of the Republic areas, but also of some completely new. Director Anatoly Semenov described to us what the Yakut technopark would look like and what purposes it would serve.
- Mr Semenov, why do we need a technopark? What would it give to the Yakut citizens?
- Over the past decades, technoparks have become one of the most common techniques of world business development. Russia has a chronic problem: there is a gap between science and mass production, and the North, alas, is no exception. Of course, entrepreneurs who wanted to promote an innovative idea in our Republic were supported but that was disjointed. We decided to combine all of the complex steps of a long way “from a sketch of an invention to the customer”. That is why in December 2011, President of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) Egor Borisov signed a decree on the establishment of SAO “Technopark “Yakutia”.
As an object of the innovation infrastructure, the industrial park is designed to provide the territorial concentration of financial and intellectual resources to accelerate the development of innovative industries. Available in the Republic scientific and technical potential will get the necessary development, the outcome of which will be manufacturing of innovation.
- Does this mean that Yakutia would soon be showered with, say, bananas or strawberries that we would begin to produce high precision medical instruments and launch our own iPhones?
- As for strawberries, by the way, you might have guessed! (Laughs.) But seriously, the selection in our industrial park is so strict that the very few, the best of the best get through. However, it may take some time before their ideas would be implemented. You see, today to realize even the most necessary innovation it is required to go through several stages, which sometimes can get quite a lot of time. That's what a technopark is needed for: to start commercial production of the latest discoveries and inventions to create a strong demand for new knowledge, to strengthen the link between science, small business and industry.

Commitment is more important than money
- Where funding for the implementation of the tasks that the technopark is facing is planned to be received?

- Money is an important but not the only condition for getting rich “innovative crop” from the area of the national technopark. It is important to have an active business community that understands its goals and interacts with the government to reach them. We already have something to display: our technopark gathered together caring and qualified professionals who are going to provide favorable conditions for the development of high-tech industry. Of course, nothing would have happened without government support but in the future the technopark will become self-sufficient.
- And isn’t it too cramped at your place?
- Well noticed! At the moment, a new building for the technopark “Yakutia” in Dzerzhinsky Street is considered to be purchased. As you can see, there will be enough space to get underway.

There is only one way - upwards
- Despite the fact that the Technopark “Yakutia” was just created, it held one of its first major events: initiated the competition “UMNIK of Yakutia”, the first stage of which was held as part of the Far East Youth Forum “Sakha Seliger”.

- Yes, this is the first joint experience of SAO “Technopark” Yakutia” and the State Committee of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia): The Competition “UMNIK of Yakutia” (the word “umnik” in Russian means “smart fellow”, and in this case abbreviation means “Fellow Member of the Youth Science and Innovation Competition of Yakutia” – Ed.) is conducted for the selection of ideas of the youth that may be able to receive appropriate consulting.
The competition is designed for creative young people who wish to cast in lot with entrepreneurship in science and technology, and in the long term – with innovative business. Which means this is a contest for those who intend to follow the example of Steve Jobs, not necessarily in IT technologies, but in their homeland.
- What are the results of the first stage of the competition?
- The first stage took place as part of the Far East Youth Forum “Sakha Seliger-2012”. SAO “Technopark “Yakutia” selected 20 of the 35 ideas presented for pre-cast. By the final selection, which will be held in November, they will have 54. The organizers are confident that at least 18 are to become members of the pre-cast of the federal competition “UMNIK” and then about 6 or 9 would become “seeds” of the projects “START”.
In other words due to the participation in the competition “UMNIK of Yakutia” youth significantly increases their opportunity to “get” onto an innovative elevator with the financial support of their ideas from 200 thousand to 3 million rubles per year for 5-6 years to a total of 6.4 million rubles. The fundamental condition of “lifting” to the top floor of financial support – is parity support from an off budget partner and, as the main result –innovative production in the amount of not less than 25 million rubles.
Winners of the “UMNIK of Yakutia” program were rewarded with a special sign and received a certificate that allows obtaining legal, marketing, financial, etc. advice to prepare highly detailed projects on the basis of the presented ideas with a chance for the financial support of the federal program “Start” and “UMNIK”. Organizers of the program believe that this will increase the number of youth projects implemented on the territory of the Republic.
- Some of the largest parks in the world are “Ingria” in St. Petersburg, “Skolkovo” in Moscow, Tomsk Technopark, “Idea” in Kazan, “Zhōngguāncūn” in Beijing and the famous American “Silicon Valley”. Will Yakut Technopark be level with them?
- Getting it all at once is a typical human desire. How about: we are going to strive for it? After all, the result of our collaboration will be a significant increase in living standards of the Yakuts, an improvement of the status at the Russian and world science and technology arena, an infusion of new investment in the development of our Republic.
Improving the lives of thousands of people is, in my opinion, the best incentive of working with maximum performance.
- Thank you for the interview, good luck to you!
- Thank you.

Olga Popova

The main goals of the Technopark “Yakutia”:

  • Integrating innovative infrastructure elements.
  • Search, evaluation and selection of innovative projects.
  • “Packaging” of selected ideas and projects.
  • Search and selection of new technologies for the transfer.
  • Promotion of the developed innovative projects and new technologies in the Russian and foreign markets.
  • Provision of consulting and legal services.
  • Accelerator services.
  • Organization of seminars, conferences and exhibitions.
  • The development of experimental and industrial technical testing ground.
  • Coordination of activities of the Centers for sharing.
  • Interaction with regional technoparks.
  • Further development of the industrial park infrastructure.
  • Training of experts, business school services in the field of innovation management.