10/21/2011 Newspaper “The Banner of Youth”
“Schoolchildren will teach business.”
Is it possible to teach students to reduce the debit with a loan? Where the first youth art-incubator opens? And when will it be possible to open a company in school? The correspondent of Znamenka found answers to all these questions at the republican conference on the role of infrastructure for supporting small and medium-sized businesses in the development of entrepreneurship.
Young people join in alliances
The conference, which took place last week, was not only about involving young people in entrepreneurial activities. Representatives of state structures and business support centers discussed the development of business incubators and technology parks in Belarus, the system of state support, foreign experience in this area, the topic of involving young people in entrepreneurship.
Currently, 59 business support centers and 14 business incubators operate in Belarus. Five centers (in Shchuchin, Smorgon, Maryina Gorka, Slutsk, Krupki) and one incubator (in Dzerzhinsk) were registered this year. We also have business incubators working with young people. One of them is a small business incubator on the basis of the “Youth Social Service” in Minsk. Here, any young businessman or business woman (no older than 31 years) who wants to start a business of his own can get the help of an entrepreneur consultant, and if he defends his business project, he will also be accommodated in an incubator.
Since the competition in the services market is tough, in the “Youth Social Service” they decided to create something like alliances in certain areas of work, so that young entrepreneurs who are beginning to have an easier time promoting their services. The first such alliance was the tourist youth business incubator, which already housed three young businesses. The second alliance will be an art direction. As explained in the “Youth Social Service”, more and more young people connect their business with creativity. Therefore, it was decided under the roof of the first youth art-incubator, which opens in Minsk, to unite talented entrepreneurs of the art industry in different directions – from interior design and furniture manufacturing, carpets, stained glass windows to painting, artistic forging and photo art.
Businessmen – from the school bench
“Often, very ambitious young people come to us who do not understand all the difficulties that every businessman usually encounters,” said Vitaly Snitko, executive director of the small business incubator. – Sometimes you have to cool their ardor at the initial stage.
Indeed, without personal experience, it is difficult to imagine what it is like to be an entrepreneur. But soon to get practical skills of working in business, young people will be able to follow the school desk: school companies are planning to create school in Minsk region. They will work on the basis of schools, lyceums, colleges. Thanks to such companies, students and students will be able to realize their innovative developments and projects, and also try themselves in entrepreneurship.
As Marina Naidovich, the director of the business incubator “MAPZAO”, who together with the education department of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee participates in the development of regulations on school companies, said, there are similar organizations in other countries. For example, in Russia, a school company is a mini-joint stock company that produces shares and distributes them among schoolchildren. The enterprise works, renders services, receives revenues, pays for the work of the company’s participants, and distributes profits to shareholders. How exactly the idea of school companies in Belarus will be realized will be seen very soon: the first of them may appear in the Minsk region already this academic year.
In the meantime, students can understand the basics of entrepreneurship in theory. Business Incubator MAPZAO has developed a training and methodological complex on the basics of entrepreneurial activity for young people. An optional business course for high school students a few years ago was tested in practice – pilot seminars were held in two rural schools. Now the presentation seminars are held in all districts of the Minsk region: the incubator specialists tell the senior pupils what they can learn in the faculty on the basics of entrepreneurial activity.
“It’s not voluntary-compulsory, but exclusively voluntary,” Marina Naidovich said. – On it, high school students can learn to make business plans, intelligently plan their savings, find out about how an individual entrepreneur is different from a legal entity, how to conduct accounting and much more. Naturally, to lead electives, teachers themselves must be trained. But the main thing – the manual, the teaching methodology and even the decision to introduce such an optional course – is.
Alesya Golovchits, “ZN”
And how are they?
Representatives of the business environment from Germany and Poland told how their business support system works.
Mario Kokowski, director of the technological center Vorpommern, Germany:
– Only about five percent of innovative ideas that appear in start-up entrepreneurs are realized in enterprises that will successfully develop and work effectively. Those who have a valuable business idea can count on funding for a number of federal programs in Germany. Young scientists can receive funding from 1 to 3 years – this is the time for them to bring their invention to the state of a product ready to enter the market. It is impossible to require financial assistance on the basis of any laws. We have an independent commission that selects applications, and the most valuable of them receive state funding.
Klaus Bayer, Chairman of the Board of the German-Belarusian Economic Club:
– As you know, Germany consists of 16 federal states, and each of them has its own resources to support the emerging companies. As for the image of Germany as an attractive country for investors, on the one hand, marketing is carried out at the federal level, on the other hand, the federal states compete among themselves in terms of the most attractive conditions for investors. Within this competitive struggle, anyone who wants to start a business can count on a wide variety of support – direct financial injections, tax benefits, land acquisition, engineering communications, and much more.
Krzysztof Zasyadly, Director of the Business Innovation Center “Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, Poland:
– Most centers for supporting entrepreneurship in Poland are now focused on innovation and cooperation with research institutes. In total there are about 750 business-innovation centers in the country that support entrepreneurs. There are, of course, ordinary, not innovative business incubators. However, emphasis is still on innovation. So, in Poland there are centers of technology transfer, which specialize in the sale of licenses and training. There are academic business incubators that deal with the so-called pre-incubation. They train, help develop the business idea, after which their residents must create their own company within two years. There are technological business incubators that work with scientific institutes. There are so-called “business angels” in Poland. These are private investors who finance small and medium-sized enterprises with interesting business projects. At the same time they help not only with money, but also share experience, connections, know-how. Thanks to this support, young businesses can quickly develop and return the money invested in them.