As entrepreneurship has flourished in Russia, so has its GEW celebrations. The Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), the official GEW host organization in Russia, reported events and activities in 57 regions throughout the country with more than 250,000 people taking part in the celebrations. This level of participations allows CFE to collect data on how people engaged with GEW, providing new insights on the Russian startup ecosystem and how to better promote entrepreneurship in the country.

The organizations that joined this year’s GEW celebrations included regional SMEs and entrepreneurship development departments, investment funds, education institutions, government agencies, incubators, accelerators and – most importantly – entrepreneurs.

The opening of GEW 2018 in Russia was broadcast by Russian news agency TASS with representatives from the Ministry of Economic Development, OPORA, Rosmolodezh and CFE. People in several regions across Russia were able to watch the live press conference online.

For GEW 2018, the CFE tried to gain a deeper understanding on the best ways to engage the Russian startup ecosystem. To do this, CFE collected statistics on event performance and turnout to in order to understand participation trends and generate new insights.

Russian GEW organizers primarily used the formats of masterclasses, forums and open lectures to engage people in the celebration. According to CFE data, the most popular activities were roundtable discussions and seminars, which accounted for 42 percent and 35 percent, respectively, of the total number of the GEW events. The actual number of events totaled more than 500. The data also showed that the average number of participants for an event ranged from 100 to 250 people. The largest events during GEW, such as OPORA Forum in Saint-Petersburgh, Voronezh Forum and Conference in Tomsk, attracted closer to 10,000 attendees.

Cities with the highest event turnout included Tomsk, Yekaterinburg, Kemerovo, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Samara, Arkhangelsk, Lipetsk, Leningrad Oblast, Kostroma, Smolensk, Belgorod, Noginsk, Nenets Autonomous Okrug , Yakutia, Tyumen, Sakhalin Oblast, Yakutsk, Beloyarsky Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra, Maykop, Ryazan, Khabarovsk region and Irkutsk.

CFE also determined social networks as the most popular promotional tool for GEW events – the most prominent being Vkontakte. Following social networks, GEW in Russia was highlighted by federal-level news agencies such as TASS, RBC, Vechernaya Moskva and others. The biggest conferences and forums were also covered by the local and regional press.

All participants and organizers noted a large positive impact from GEW 2018. Among the outcomes, organizers in Russia noted GEW assisted in the following:

  • Promoting a culture of entrepreneurship
  • Educating young people about basic entrepreneurial principals and skills
  • Helping people gain practical knowledge about business development
  • Creating networking and connection opportunities to find mentors and support institutions
  • Determining the most important challenges for SMEs

Among the featured events for this year’s celebration is CFE’s “Ecosystem Connect by Russia” project. Every day during GEW, CFE hosted live broadcasts with ecosystem stakeholders from 10 countries. Those countries are Paraguay, Namibia, Nepal, India, South Africa, Australia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Bahrain and South Korea.

Ekaterina Vainberg, head of entrepreneurial programs at CFE and moderator of the broadcast, discussed with foreign counterparts different measures to support entrepreneurship in their ecosystems, foster a healthy investment climate, determine the most relevant areas for business development, and talk about the impact of GEW 2018 campaigns.

During the broadcasts, all countries noted an improvement of the entrepreneurship environment and increased interest from young people in becoming entrepreneurs. According to both Paola Ferrario from Paraguay and Esam Hammad from Bahrain, more and more young people choose entrepreneurship as a career path. But despite shift in mindset, entrepreneurship still faces many challenges. Several countries noted the biggest challenge they deal with are a lack of international cooperation, a small number of launch programs to scale businesses and poor business survival rates.

Every single country from the broadcasts, except Australia and India, noted a necessity to expand the geographical market reach of their companies. In particular, Paraguay, Namibia, Nepal, India and Montenegro emphasized the importance of developing trust and collaboration in their entrepreneurship communities. While Allan Connolly, GEN managing director for Australia, called the current period for the entrepreneurship development in Australia a “perfect storm” for success. Vainberg noted the same level of success in Russia, especially now that entrepreneurship has gained widespread support and is celebrated in the country.

To learn more about GEW 2018 in Russia, you can watch the official promo video here: