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The results of panel discussion on women’s entrepreneurship in Novosibirsk.

05/11/2011

Panel discussion on “Perspectives of development of women’s entrepreneurship in Siberia” was held under StartupWomen project on October, 31 in Novosibirsk. Girls and women who run or have intention to start their own business participated in this event. Also along with me, Natalia Odegova, a business woman from Novosibirsk and a founder of “Remote assistants” project; and Alena Kotova, a member of the Board of Deputies of Tatarsk city of Novosibirsk Region and member of the Chamber of Deputies of NR were among the discussion participants.

Our principal thesis was as follows: in terms of women’s unemployment elimination it is more than reasonable to encourage entrepreneurial spirit  and activity of  women themselves. Moreover, if big and mid-size businesses were concentrated in the hands of men after 90-s(judging from logic of historical and economical processes), then small business may become women’s fiefdom.

And Internet  is the fastest way to: first, to learn reply promptly the users’ requests; second, be more flexible and learn from mistakes; and third, learn how not to spend millions and  have an opportunity to create a project with low financial barrier of entry.

‘Round table’ was held in a dialogue format. I spoke on Russian and worldwide practices, analysed women’s entrepreneurship in Siberia. For example, according to data of Grant Thornton company of 2008, the most of female managers in Russia are in Novosibirsk.

During the survey carried out by this company, 65% of respondents stated that three and more women are among the top-management of local companies. 385 women living in the Novosibirsk region have started their own business since 2008. Many of them may be illustrated as successful women, for example, Tatyana Sokolnikova, Chief executive of ‘Argument” company in Tomsk; Elena Polyakova, Director of  Professional development centre, author and coordinator of  regional and corporate educational projects; Anna Vibornih, chief of ‘BIS-Novosibirsk’ company;  or an acquaintance  of mine, active person an successful business lady, Natalia Ibragimova, manager of ‘SibirskayaKopeechka’ chain.

Being in Novosibirsk, we decided that all business ladies should be put in touch with each other, but how we could do that?  The answer is to carry out round tables and regular discussions. What for? We want the issues to be solved and ideas to be scaled. We often find out in our sessions that two different teams in two different cities work on the same idea, moreover, they both have similar problems. So why not to solve this problems conjointly?

Social entrepreneurship became an important topic for our panel discussion. There were many questions in the audience, like what that is and how to do this. We discussed the examples of successful social projects in Russia, such as Urtam.ru, it’s a boarding school for disabled children, where they are nurtured to be Paralympic champions. Another example, ‘Archangelsk professional rehabilitation centre for disabled’.  Also, there is a chain of recreation centres ‘Baby-life’ in Perm.

The audience was concerned by the issue of how to create a web project that could let women earn money being at home with children, and also how to help with employment of those categories of citizens who are unemployed now. Moreover, how to educate them and improve their performance, which could reduce costs of their the client companies.  Natalia Odegova, the founder of ‘Remote assistants’ project, shared her experience and spoke on solutions she offered. Natalia created her project when she was in maternity leave. The results can be already  seen.

Overall, summing up the results of the event carried out, we decided to  put on our web-site www.startupwomen.ru the schedule of meetings, panel discussions and teleconferences that are going to be carried out regularly in Novosibirsk and other cities. Our aim is to help Siberian business women with projects implementation. Among the plans of Startup Women now is designing of e-business educational program for women, they could participate in on attractive terms, and increasing of number of meetings with successful business ladies for experience interchange and issues discussion.

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