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At Nizhnyís KomTech 2014, local and global innovation players build collaboration strategies

21 Mar '14
The Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod (UNN), a leading university in the entire Volga area, held on March 20 its first in a series of innovation sessions called KomTech 2014. The Technology Commercialization Center (TCC), a new department set up last December at UNN, led the effort

Supported by EURECA, a US-Russia bilateral program backing university research and innovation, and Rouse, a London-based law firm with years of expertise in IP protection, KomTech is aimed at helping local start-up innovators and entrepreneurs, which are especially focused on various high technology segments supported by UNN, to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, work out winning strategies to promote the commercialization of their projects, obtain the knowledge and skills to implement their efforts, and put together effective PR strategies to support their projects.

The event, presided over by UNNís entire management including Rector Evgeny Chuprunov and Vice Rector for Innovation Kendrick White, brought together the top managers of a number of leading companies from Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as government officials, scientists, and experts representing sizable global companies. Also participating were innovators from Perm State Technical University, UNNís partner in the EURECA program from the West Urals.

Other high-profile experts included Ian Humphrey-Smith, the president and chairman of Skolkovo RusInnovations; Roeland van Gestel, the president of the International Communities Association of Nizhny Novgorod (ICANN); Ilya Dubinsky, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech); and others.

One of the key speakers was Simon Dunlop, the co-founder of Dream Industries, a Moscow-headquartered company developing a range of IT projects, including Zvooq, Bookmate, Exchang.es, Theory & Practice, Third Place and Telegraph, and working to nurture IT start-ups using its proprietary acceleration methodology.

The master-class sections of the March 20 event featured targeted programs by Vitaly Vinogradov, the co-founder and CEO of i-Accelerator who raised some vital issues start-ups face on their path to project commercialization, and Paul Briscoe, an experience patent attorney from Rouse who joined TCCís legal support department in one-on-one consultations for UNN innovators.

The key component of the event was a roundtable titled ďDeveloping Regional Innovation Eco-system Drivers Ė how to encourage collaboration?Ē Regional government officials pooled their efforts with Russian innovation ecosystem players and international business experts representing global companies such as Intel in discussing the problems and prospects of VC investing in the Nizhny Novgorod region, the role of local techno-parks and business incubators, and how these techno-parks and incubators should be enlivened by adding an indispensable element, which is a vibrant ecosystem of free entrepreneurship, open-mindedness, and collaboration.

As the day was drawing to a close, the participants were engaged in a much less formal elevator pitch series of project presentations called PitchNITE. The inaugural session of what UNN TCC hopes will be a bi-monthly program featured projects in IT, biotech, and mechanical engineering.

Young innovators from UNN, the Perm university and also from the Nizhny Novgorod Business Incubator contended for the juryís attention in three-minute presentations of their innovation start-ups. At that stage, most of these needed mentoring support from the experienced angel, VC and corporate investors and private entrepreneurs participating in the event.

Three out of eight projects were picked as the pitch winners. These included Tectum, a project developing a next gen hemostatic agent; Altopus Dialog Agent, an IT system that dramatically eases work with MSOffice for beginners; and XFormer, a project that develops new adaptive modules for safer and more accurate mammography scanning.

Next KomTech 2014 session is scheduled for May. For more information please contact Alyona Ryabinina at a.ryabinina@tcc.unn.ru.
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