PCBI Russia: Regional Innovation & Motivation for Businesses

PCBI 3 IT Weekend 2012

We caught up with Rinat Shamsiev, Director at the Perm City Business Incubator (PCBI Russia), an innovation hub geared towards inspiring local entrepreneurs in Russia’s Perm region.

Rinat provided us with insights on innovation, motivating young businesspeople, and the importance of building strong regional ties within your local community to have a successful start-up. See below for the interview transcript:


What was the inspiration/motivation behind PCBI? What is your specific role in running the hub? How does a typical working day unfold for you at the hub? 

The inspiration for starting PCBI was the growth and development of business in Perm City. A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs here have no business education and their minds are filled with stereotypes about starting businesses, which is why most young people are afraid to do so. They think that it’s too difficult or it needs lots of money.

We represent the only municipal business incubator in Perm City. We have two or three educational events per week, lots of consultations on justice and law-related issues, marketing and others. Every day we work with our residents to develop their businesses.

How would you differentiate your technology hub from others in the region and do you interact with other regional hubs?

We have our  unique business education program, and our technologies are not used in other regional hubs. We cooperate with some regional partners to work on certain projects, but this doesn’t occur on a permanent basis.


PCBI seminar participants on regional innovation in 2012

Can you briefly describe start-up culture as you’ve experienced it? For instance, when it comes to funding and investment, are investors willing to take risks? Are the ventures you’ve been exposed to vastly different, similar, or geared towards a particular need in the community?

Only a few investors are willing to take risks. Most projects use their own resources or use government’s subsidies. The culture of investment is just emerging here.

Are there any recent projects or case studies that are particularly unique, and why?

We have unique projects. Presently it’s Maugry, which is a mobile guide for museums in Russia and Europe. This mobile app can aggregate all activities in any area, wherever you are.

When dreaming up projects with creators, how much of your attention is directed towards intellectual property rights (IPRs)?

Practically, intellectual property rights do not play the main role here. Creators usually think about the commercialisation and realisation of their projects first. We typically discuss IP only in terms of some special projects that imply the usefulness of IP for commercialisation.

Who owns the intellectual property in successful start-up projects? Does ownership change according to projects, or do you have a standard structure, by contract?

We do not claim any IP rights in any of the projects, as we represent a municipal institution, and are not empowered to do so.

How do you see technology and innovation developing in Russia in the next five years?  Where do you see PCBI 10 years from now?

In the future, I see PCBI integrated into the region’s educational and business infrastructures. This is a very important moment for developing business and innovation business in the region.

What would be the most important piece of advice you would give to entrepreneurs and start-ups?

The most important piece of advice for the people is to work hard on their competitions and be aware of the histories of successful realisations of projects in the Perm Region.

A 2012 PCBI IT-Weekend session in full swing

A 2012 PCBI IT-Weekend session in full swing

What advice would you give to innovation hubs to help streamline the innovation and commercialisation processes for entrepreneurs and start ups?

I think that the most important advice is to stay involved into common regional activities.

Could you name some successful start-ups that PCBI has helped launch? What factors have contributed to their success where others have failed?

The most successful start-ups are:

  • Brainy studioDevelopers of mobile games. This project is the winner of Microsoft Imagine Cup in nomination “Games”; and
  • Maugry: A mobile guide for museums in Russia and Europe.

To keep up with the very busy PCBI and its many activities, follow them here: @incubatorperm. Follow Rinat’s thoughts on innovation and entrepreneurship on his blog here.

Images Source: PCBI VKontakte album page. Reprinted with permission.

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About: Mekhala Chaubal

Mekhala is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, Canada with an interest in all areas of intellectual property (IP) law in a transnational context, privacy rights, and the development of IP in emerging economies. She is currently immersed in learning about innovation, entrepreneurship and the finer points of patent, copyright and trade-mark law as IP Legal Assistant.

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