July 03, 2019 – HSE University – Teams from universities of the USA, Israel, the UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Estonia and Russia gathered at HSE University – St Petersburg. For four festival days the participants attended the events of the acceleration programme: the leading Russian and foreign experts shared with them their knowledge in the field of marketing, fundraising and PR.

“For us the festival became a new starting point”, – says Anastasia Telichko, a student of HSE University – St Petersburg, member of the team “Sphere”. “During this week we leveled up our understanding of how start-ups function at the very first stages, how to enter business environment, how to interact with your clients and partners, how to structure the project and present it in the best possible way”. “Now we are developing a new concept for our start-up and are looking for the new strategy of international promotion. We’ve received an important feedback from the experts, and now we understand what’s the right direction for further development”, – adds Anna Gomarteli, another team member.
Anya Berlova from “Anya Berlova Designs” project (Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder) also shared her thoughts of the festival: “The mission of my company is to stand up to bullying around the world and support individuality in children. We have developed a smart device application that will help us to achieve this goal. Here I met amazing people, investors, partners and just learned as much as I could about what entrepreneurship is like in Russia, the Russian market, and new ideas and experiences”.

On Friday, June 28, the participants presented their projects at the final pitch session. In 10 minutes, the teams told how they were going to advance and commercialize their products. Startups were evaluated by the expert jury headed by Mikhail Oseevsky, President of Rostelecom company.

The first place and a grant of 10 000 USD was awarded to the project Timey from Tallinn University of Tecnology. The team of uFraction8 project from Scotland won a grant of 7 000 USD, and the third prize of 5 000 USD was awarded to Artiness project from Italy. Two projects also received People´s Choice Awards: Timey and Annoto project from Israel.

The winning start-up – Timey – produces chemical indicators aimed at controlling that cooled food products are stored and transported at the right temperature. Their technology allows not only controlling the quality of products; in case of any malfunction, it helps to indicate at what stage of the supply chain it occurs. Thus, Timey technology helps to avoid disputes between the manufacturer and the vendor regarding the responsibility for the damaged product.

“We are going to split the money into two parts. We’ll spend the first one on producing the stock of indicators, so that we can satisfy the needs of companies as quickly as possible. The second part will be spent on patenting. Estonian market is not so large, so we are to enter the international market”, – comments Tatiana Zaretskaya, representative of the team of developers.

Director of the project office “Technology development” of Rostelecom company, Liubov Simonova – Emelyanova shares her impression of the festival: “We should develop entrepreneurship not only on the basis of the already formed companies, we need a wider look. We pay a lot of attention to student projects, and work with them in different forms. We are mostly interested in the technology solutions developed by Russian students, but are also looking for foreign projects aiming to enter the Russian market. Organization of the international student festival is our first experience of collaborating with HSE University – St Petersburg in the sphere of developing innovative entrepreneurship. The projects presented during HSE FEST were really interesting. We consider some of them as pilot projects for further development with the support of Rostelecom. We’ll study them in detail”.

Sergey Kadochnikov, Director of HSE University – St Petersburg underlined: “Development of the entrepreneurial university environment, forming the relevant skills and competencies are one of our most important tasks for the future. It is also important to provide students with the opportunity of getting acquainted with international innovative start-ups, give them a chance to make new contacts with potential partners from different countries and exchange experience. HSE FEST became the first step of our campus in this direction, and we’re going to develop further”.

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