In focus: Schemes and initiatives for women entrepreneurs in Russia
Tracing history, the Constitution of Russia, adopted in 1993, guaranteed equal rights for women and men. Even before that, the Bolshevik Revolution granted women’s rights in Russia in 1917.
Women’s entrepreneurship in Russia has been developing in the country and the greatest development of women involvement in entrepreneurship was achieved in the last ten years. Interestingly, entrepreneurial activity among women in the early stages in Russia in 2016 exceeded that in economically-developed European countries such as Germany, Italy, France.
The Russian government has implemented several schemes and programs to encourage and support women entrepreneurs in the country. Particularly, in Moscow entrepreneurs can count on financial assistance, which includes participation in Russian and international congresses, exhibitions & fairs. Additionally, there is a program for organizing collective stands at Russian and foreign exhibitions under the common brand – “Made in Moscow”, which allows businessmen both to meet buyers, investors and representatives of international companies, as well as to find new markets.
Some of the incentives and grants available to women entrepreneurs in Russia are:
> Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme
The programme is aimed at supporting and promoting women’s entrepreneurship in Russia. What does it offer? It provides financial and technical assistance to women entrepreneurs. Besides, it also helps them to access new markets and opportunities.
> Support for Female Entrepreneurship Project
The objective of this project is that it majorly supports and develops women entrepreneurship in Russia – by providing access to training, networking, and financing opportunities. It is implemented by the Russian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Corporation.
> Young Women’s Entrepreneurship Competition
Aiming to support and promote young women entrepreneurs in Russia, this competition is organized by the Russian Association of Business Women. It provides a circle of offerings – like mentoring, training, and networking opportunities, as well as funding for business development.
> Support for Women Entrepreneurs Programme
The programme is implemented by the Russian Export Center and aims to support and promote women’s entrepreneurship in Russia by providing access to financing, training, and networking opportunities.
> Women in Business Forum
This forum is organized by the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Russia. It brings together different kinds of individuals – women entrepreneurs, government officials, and experts to discuss issues related to women’s entrepreneurship in Russia.
Overall, there are several government programs & initiatives in Russia that aim to support and encourage women entrepreneurs. These programs offer a variety of incentives and grants that can help women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Apart from these there are other options too, as given below.
> Founders Network
Founders Network is a private community of tech startup founders, who are committed to helping each other succeed through peer mentorship. What’s important is that the members gain a support network that provides peer advice based on experience and personal introductions to key individuals like investors, customers and vetted service providers. The benefits are – faster, smarter decision-making, increased access to growth opportunities & peace-of-mind from minimizing personal and management risk.
Amway Russia established the Mompreneur programme in 2013 through its Amway Charity Foundation – to help women entrepreneurs start their own businesses and implement business ideas too. The programme provides education and grants and is designed specifically for women on maternity leave and mothers of underage children, as well as women who are registered with the employment service.
Free Mompreneur training is a five-day intensive training with involving business education, the development of business plans and mentoring support. Successful entrepreneurs and experts educate participants on taxation and provide practical advice on launching and promoting a business.
Mompreneur originated in four cities in Russia but has since expanded to 58 cities and operates in partnership with government and industry organizations such as the federal corporation on development of small and mid-sized businesses, the Women’s Committee of OPORA Rossii (Russia’s largest association of small and mid-sized businesses) and the Public Chamber of Russian Federation.
> Assistance to entrepreneurs – within the framework of federal programmes
Assistance to entrepreneurs is provided within the framework of federal programmes; and there are also regional projects. Events held within the framework of federal programs, as well as requirements for participation in them, are established by order of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The programmes provide the following forms of support:
> Provide subsidies
> Provide free consultations
> Organizes business training
> Provision of land and premises for rent on preferential terms
> Issues preferential loans
> Admission to participation in exhibitions and fairs free of charge
Thus, the use of available forms of government support is helpful, for makes it easier to start businesses from scratch.