Moscow prepares to welcome the world







During GEW13, Global Entrepreneurship Week host, the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), a leading force for advancing entrepreneurship in Russia, partnered with the Moscow City government. Taking the lead in conducting GEW across the capital this year, the city government catalysed more than 200 activities in Moscow alone. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s team offered some remarkably effective city-level leadership in support of new businesses creation and growth.

Featured events included the CFE international conference focused on entrepreneurship education in high schools, and in partnership with Skolkovo Open University, the Moscow Central House of Entrepreneurs even offered an Entrepreneurial Film Festival throughout the weekend. Moscow was not alone. Other Russian regions were also very active during GEW, with more than 700 events reported across the country. In spite of record levels of activity, Muscovites acknowledge that there is a long way to go – unemployment in Moscow is less than 1% which makes it difficult for leaders to support entrepreneurship on the basis of job creation.

With the baton passed from Rio,Moscow now prepares to convene the next Global Entrepreneurship Congress (March 17-20, 2014) in the historic Moscow Manege—just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin. It is getting ready to prove that Moscow can be as powerful as San Francisco or Berlin in terms of a vibrant startup culture and that the capital of one of the world’s “strong government” economies can work to reconcile a tradition of top-down government control with a recognition of the importance of bottom-up, organic startup communities.

The GEC each March is by far the largest annual gathering of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem—from self-professed coding “geeks” to startup-savvy policymakers. The Congress connects advanced and developing economies keen to leverage the power of entrepreneurs. So the commitment from Moscow to host the next GEC is no small feat—it is great proof of a growing self-confidence in the potential of its own entrepreneurship ecosystem.

That ecosystem is one where leaders are not shy to call practitioners from around the world to emulate their efforts in promoting a new venture creation. The city’s Nagatino Co-working Center, for example, was inspired by similar spaces in Rio and Washington, DC. By the next GEW, every floor of the building will be open with startups and its very façade will be an invitation to explore the entrepreneurial path. When the GEC kicks off next March the efforts of this new generation of entrepreneurs will receive the support of the world’s startup community.