YBI being the guest at YBR

On March 25-30, Youth Business Russian programme received the Youth Business International (YBI) team studying best international practices of comprehensive regular and sustainable youth business support. Under this research project, three YBI member programmes of total 56 have been selected, including Youth Business Russia, and YBR selected region was Voronezh.

It was not a random choice to study the YBR experience in Voronezh since it will be the 10th anniversary of YBR in this region, and it was exactly in Voronezh that lots of programme elements have been worked out and adapted and arranged in a system.

YBI team, Emilia McElvenney and Rosalyn O’Brien, virtually lived the life of YBR members for the whole week. They have met entrepreneurs on YBR programme of different periods across Voronezh Region at their business sites – a beegarden, a tombstone shop, a hair studio, a retail store, a plastic waste recycling plant. Our YBI colleagues visited regional entrepreneurship support centres in the towns of Ramon and Semiluki and met local mentors. In the city of Voronezh, they have first of all met with partner organizations, first of all with Voronezh Entrepreneurship Fund as the core partner.

It is cross-sectoral partnership that serves as the cornerstone of YBR entrepreneurship support. During their visit at Voronezh Entrepreneurship Fund, the YBI team met the Fund Director Yuri Lavlinsky, Olga Ofitserova, YBR Manager at the Fund, and Lyudmila Tregubova, Loans Manager.

Our YBI colleagues also met with the representatives of the local office of OPORA Russia (a national NGO of small and medium business) Sergey Naumov, Chairman and a mentor on YBR programme, Maxim Gridnev, Head of the Youth Entrepreneurship Committee (former YBR member and now a mentor), and Olga Ofitserova, Head of the Women Entrepreneurship Committee. The meeting was held in a very special place, Voronezh heritage and touristic centre Peters Navy, a social project being implemented by Sergey Naumov.

During the visit at Voronezh Entrepreneurship Support Centre, YBR informal partner since the beginning of the Centre operations, Konstantin Kornev, the Centre Director, and Boris Tkachenko, CEO, YBR, have signed a cooperation agreement on youth business development, hence there are 18 YBR partners in Voronezh now.

Two group meetings were held. The meeting with Mother Entrepreneur project members was hosted by the Regional Youth Centre, YBR partner. The members of this project had already took part at the seminars organised by Hogan Lovells, YBR federal partners and joined YBR. The guests also met with YBR mentors, both experienced mentors and their mentees, who have also become mentors now.

The final and special event of the visit in Voronezh was the public club “About Business Informally” with over 100 guests. This exciting and busy function was held at the central Event platform with gorgeous catering by Anderson Café, by the courtesy of Alexander Gubarev, YBR mentor. The club event was organised by YBR together with Youth Entrepreneurship Committee of OPORA Russia, Voronezh Affiliate.

The key topic at the club was I had the courage to…. Young entrepreneurs and YBR members Artyom Kopylov, Dmitry Nekrasov, Alexey Shkarin, Ekaterina Ermatova, Anastasia Ostankova, Maxim Gridnev, talked about their prompt actions in business. The session was moderated by Evgeny Kuzmin, YBR member.

The next international session that included speeches delivered by YBI guests was conducted by Boris Tkachenko, CEO, YBR. The young entrepreneurs suggested theirs ideas on international cooperation in the framework of YBI, including YBI visits to entrepreneurs programme members, practical training, assistance in entry the markets of the countries covered by YBI.

Dmitry Nekrasov, mentor of the YBR programme conducted the role play on entering foreign markets and shared his own experience in this domain.

The coffee break time was also spent profitably and was combined with the competition on the most productive networking. Everyone should make acquaintances and collect as many business cards as possible. At the end of this session, Irina Gorelova, YBR Development Director, summarised the results of the competition and awarded 8 winners with consultations by YBR mentors.

There were several meetings with YBR federal partners, including Hogan Lovells, Accenture Russia and ImpactHub Moscow.

Therefore the visit programme was very eventful and definitely useful.

We appreciate the hospitality accorded by all our federal and regional partners, and thank all YBR members and mentors for sharing their experience and cases.

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