With the word “incubator” the majority of Belarusians have one association: a chicken coop. Even the prefix “business” changes little in our minds. Perhaps that’s why business incubators are so rare even in the central region. There are only 4 of them. And the subjects of management working under the wing of such structures are 124. On the one hand, there are not so few, on the other hand, only 0.2% of the total number of private organizations and individual entrepreneurs of the Minsk region.
Natalia EREMICH What kind of thing is that the head of one of the business incubators Sergey NAYDOVICH told the correspondent of the “MP” what is useful to the economy of the region as a whole and to the individual entrepreneur in particular? Back in 1998, he created the first such structure in Belarus, having received a certificate of registration No1, and now she successfully works in Kolodishchi Minsk region.
– Sergey Mikhailovich, business incubators in Belarus are still embryonic today. How did you come up with the idea of creating a similar structure in the last century?
– They exist in the world since 1956. At the end of the last century, they became widespread in Europe, which prompted us to this idea. The technology of incubation has long been known to everyone and is simple: to get the result, you must first grow something or someone. Not only a bird that will carry eggs, but also professionals who will become successful in their field of activity. Likewise, entrepreneurs should be grown up – to teach, to support at the initial stage and to release already “fledgling chicks”. For this, there are business incubators. Our actually started work long before 1998 – back in the 1980s. It was lucky that perestroika began. All roads opened to the young. For the first time in the Soviet Union, the system of scientific and technical creativity of young people in Moscow was launched. Since I was on the council of young scientists of the Central Committee of the Komsomol of Belarus, I came up with the idea of creating a structure of this nature in Minsk. I was joined by other young scientists to speed up the process of introducing their developments in a simplified procedure: there was a customer – we worked for him and received money. The funds could be distributed freely, while in the research institutes another principle operated: 3 – 5% was allocated to the salary, and the rest of the money had to be reinvested in some equipment, something else. We could use up to 50% to pay the young scientists. Therefore, the growth went crazy. Scientific development cost the customer 5 times cheaper than in the scientific research institute: fewer people were involved. At the same time, our youth solved the problem quickly, because it was motivated. Over time, the general market conditions, legislation, and commercial center research centers have changed in the country … In fact, this was the way to create our business incubator.
– Why in the Kolodishchi?
– It happened by chance. If you notice, next to the incubator is a radio transmitting antenna. To me as a specialist on the effects of electromagnetic fields, local citizens have asked to determine the effect of this antenna on the local population. As it turned out, the impact of the antenna in Uruchye is greater than in the Kolodishche. And right under it there is no radiation. I was told – they say, prove by your example that you are not deceiving: they have sown alongside. So we got a local garbage dump to house a business incubator. They began to disassemble it, to prepare a building project, so that novice innovative enterprises could settle here. We decided to try to create optimal conditions for their growth and development. In 1996, legislation on the development and support of entrepreneurship began to be formed. And then there was a UNDP project to create business incubators in Belarus. I found out about it from the press, came up with my technology, and a whole commission came to me. Have looked and speak: so you already an incubator, approach or suit on all parameters. I was made a consultant to set up incubators in Belarus, and we were brought to Kolodischi by the heads of districts of the Minsk region to learn how to work with small businesses.
– From your point of view, did this benefit them?
– Yes. In any case, the term “business incubator” does not frighten them and does not cause a smile and association with the chicken coop. Now business incubators work everywhere. Park of high technologies – business incubator, “Great Stone” – too. Any technology creates a business incubator. There is also the concept of “accelerator”. It’s the same incubator, just under the order. Let’s say you are a large enterprise and you need to create a network of small enterprises. You can create an accelerator and grow those who will deal with your network. Or you can grow them for a franchise. For example, branded stores are expensive. The option is 15 – 20 times cheaper – to increase sales in the regions and sell them a franchise. A simple example is “Milavitsa”. Its stores were about 60, and when they began to use the franchise, it became more than 600.
– Why are there so few incubators in the Minsk region?
– Because the mentality hinders. Here, it would seem, there is a ready-made technology – business incubators. Take it and use it. But we have not done so. Our people believe that it is better to go it alone. Like, I somehow deal with their own affairs, you just do not touch me. And they work as they can. Incubation is not widely claimed. Hence the set of failures that the business is facing at the stage of origin.
– Incubator – the possibility of avoiding failures?
– If not an opportunity, then a good chance for sure. In incubators, special “home” conditions are created for people who start their business to feel protected here, with the same as themselves, to get acquainted and grow together. Because the beginning of business is always connected with certain difficulties: a person does not know anything. I read only about this “something”, if I read it, and pokes like a blind kitten. At us now to open business simply – no obstacles. And in the same Germany, for example, to start doing business, you have to prove that you can do it. For this you must first learn. That is, first you are a student, and then you are a master. And only after that you go out to the market and work. The basis is taken by professionalism, and then the business appears from it. At us at first it is given the right to become the businessman, and professionalism comes already in the course of work if comes. Therefore, there are problems. The incubators close this question. To us a person says: I want to start my own business. We help him to begin. And first of all, let’s read the book “Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship for Youth”, which we publish together with the regional executive committee, so that a person understands what exactly he will need to do to get a business.
– What are the advantages, except for training, have your wards?
– Free consulting in the process of work, rent of premises at acceptable rates, centralized accounting – at will, assistance in attracting investments. But the main thing is a special atmosphere, friendly, teamwork. Even those businessmen who have grown professionally and can work independently do not want to leave us. Therefore, one building we have – an incubator, and the second – an industrial park, where the stronger businesses move to. Some do not even rent, but buy out the property.
– In parallel with the business incubators in the districts of the Minsk region, there are centers for supporting entrepreneurship. And there are a lot more of them – as many as 13. But, as I understand, this is far from the same thing and business incubators have a lot of advantages.
– Now the Department for Entrepreneurship Development of the Ministry of Economy is discussing this issue. I propose to transform the centers into incubators with an area of up to 100 square meters. That is, to divide the incubators according to the gradation: for example, the first, second, third categories. The first – over 3 thousand meters, the second – up to 1000 meters, the third – up to 100 meters. And to transform the centers into incubators of the third category. Entrepreneurs to rent to give literally only a workplace – a table, a chair, a computer with access to the Internet. All the same, after all, when the centers come to consultations, in addition to drawing up a business plan, they still need to attach young entrepreneurs to someone or something, so that they learn to do business. And the centers do not have options. It is necessary that they are ready for this and accompany the business from birth to becoming, not tossing them halfway.
– Obviously, business incubators are good for the economy of the region, as they would steadily increase the army of entrepreneurs, giving a chance for survival even to those who will not last a year in free navigation. What is needed for the development of this area in the region?
– To work out the technology, implement and popularize. But for this you need to allocate resources centrally. And first you need to understand how much money you can send. I often ask: how much do you need? As a rule, I answer that it is necessary to start from the fact, how many there are. So it’s easier to solve the problem. You can allocate a million rubles – well. We will hold a competition for the region and we will make, for example, 2-3 incubators. Next year, allocate half a million – one more will be done, that is, we need a comprehensive regional program. But first you need to train specialists for these business incubators, which can be done on our base. That they came to us, looked at what the accountant, the head, the one who works with entrepreneurs, places them, and so on. And then this person can become the head of a new business incubator, form a team, train employees. They would be excellent assistants to local authorities, including in attracting investment in the districts. Happens as? Investors come to the region and ask a lot of practical questions, which often do not hear the answers. And they leave. As a rule, the regions do not know what to answer these questions. Such a function could be performed by managers and employees of business incubators, accompanying visitors to the area of investors and providing them with the necessary information. The example is the same Germany where business incubators become innovative and investment centers and accompany investors in their region. They know their entrepreneurs, the potential of the territory, with whom and how to connect investors, what to draw their attention to.