Russian Red Tape can strangle investment
1. Tell us a little bit about who you are, the business you are involved in and which of the BRICS countries you are from / investing in.
I’m not from a BRIC country even though I do work for a Russian company that specializes in publishing.
2. How would you describe macroeconomic conditions in your country? Do you feel that government policies are favourable for doing business?
If we talk about Russia, then government policies as well as paperwork policies are probably most rigid in the world. Starting from the amount of documentation and bribes you have to go through, when starting a business, and finishing with everything that comes when running a business. What can be done in the UK by 1 person in about a week, would take five people to do in a month, in Russia.
3. What would you say is one of the greatest opportunities available to technology entrepreneurs / investors in your country?
Open minded investors, Russia is very much trying to diversify the economy. And move away from pure recourse based economy to innovation economy. Skolkovo is a great example of the intent of the government however I do believe that the real issues are in policies rather than facilities. But this might change, and then we can really have a very good base for innovation in Russia.
4. What would you say are the greatest risks when looking at business opportunities in your country and what advice would you offer?
Corruption and state. You have to know the right people and have a bribe budget. There is a very good example, the IKEA story, which basically tells everything about how business is done in Russia, especially for foreign investors/companies.