On 4 June 2021, within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Philip Morris Sales & Marketing LLC and the RSPP Centre for Regional Development and Business Technologies signed a letter of intent to implement an acceleration programme for small and medium-sized enterprises in the field of "ecology". The aim of the programme is to develop environmental entrepreneurship and projects to find solutions for environmental problems in Russia's regions. The programme is expected to receive up to RUB 14 million in funding. This project is a continuation of the long-term initiative “Innovation Business Navigator", which PMI affiliates in Russia and the RSPP Centre for Regional Development and Business Technologies have been implementing over the past years.
"We continue to actively develop our business in Russia, investing in the Russian economy and contributing a steady income to the state budget from excise and other taxes. The implementation of projects such as 'Innovation Business Navigator', launched back in 2017, is our contribution to the development of entrepreneurship in Russia," commented Sergei Slipchenko, Vice President for Corporate Affairs in Russia, Philip Morris International. "We are helping small and medium-sized businesses to become more competitive. Small and medium-sized businesses are potential growth points for the Russian economy. This year we are not only significantly expanding the project to 85 constituent entities, but also want to give a boost to green entrepreneurship across the country. PMI is at the forefront of companies that are systematically reducing their environmental impact. Through this programme, we will be able to share our experience in tackling environmental issues and support small and medium-sized businesses working in this field."
"It's about enabling creative entrepreneurs to, firstly, put forward their project proposals, and then receive support in the form of grants from a leading international company to develop their business. Contest winners will be awarded not only cash grants, but will also be included in the activities of RSPP committees and commissions. And what's more, winners will receive free membership of the RSPP, which for some reason has traditionally been seen as an organisation defending the interests of big business. We would like to demonstrate our concern for small businesses with real, tangible actions, not just words. We encourage other companies to continue this work. Both we and the Business School, are ready to expand the circle of partners," said Alexander Shokhin, President of the RSPP.
"I am very glad that the joint project of the RSPP and PMI is proceeding well," commented Evgenia Shokhina, Chairman of the Board of the RSPP Centre for Regional Development and Business Technologies. "The number of participating regions and projects is growing. The accelerator model has proven its effectiveness, with projects more than doubling their profits during the training period. This year, the focus is on environmental business, which is in line with the international agenda of sustainable development goals".
The programme was developed in accordance with the data sheet of the national "Ecology" project of the Russian government, as well as with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is open to companies, start-ups and NGOs working in relevant areas, including:
- Environmental education;
- Responsible production and consumption;
- Environmental protection and conservation;
- Biodiversity conservation and eco-tourism development;
- Conservation and restoration of water bodies (including Lake Baikal, Lake Teletskoye and the Volga River);
- New environmental protection technologies (development and production of wastewater treatment plants; creation and expansion of renewable energy sources; recycling of industrial waste, etc.).
The new programme will help participants develop and prepare their projects for cooperation with big business. The programme will reach 85 constituent entities of the Russian Federation: according to the organisers’ plans, at least 200 submissions will be selected in these regions. About 100 projects are expected to go through the start-up intensive programme, and at least 50 small and medium-sized businesses, start-ups and non-profit organisations are expected to successfully complete the accelerator programme. Programme finalists will receive a share of the RUB 1.75m prize fund, with the top three businesses awarded grants of RUB 500,000, RUB 250,000 and RUB 150,000 respectively.
Submissions for the accelerator programme are due by 24 June, after which a shortlist will be announced. The programme will be implemented in several stages from July to October this year. A final event featuring the best projects is due to be held on 10 November.