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Tomsk State University and TechnoSpark to Launch a Startup Builders Program

TSU is going to be the first Russian university to hold a business game after which ten upper-year students will get the opportunity to launch their own technology startups with TechnoSpark. This is part of the StartupExperience internship program at the end of which the students will defend their final qualifying projects based on the results of the startup launch experience.

The program will start next academic year: on September 1, ten TSU upper-year students will begin launching their startups. To shortlist the students, there will be two qualifying stages in the form of a business game “Build a company. Sell the company.” The first stage will be held on March 5 and April 9. Participants with the best scores will compete in the final on May 17.

“This is a truly unprecedented project that has several goals: first one is how to learn creating high-tech entrepreneurs. We know that there is only a handful of such people now. The purpose of the project is to create a new system, the technology of serial entrepreneurship when anyone can join the technological chain,” said Eduard Galazhinsky, Rector of TSU. “The second aspect of the program is that in this way we start a new mechanism of cooperation of graduates with the endowment fund. Our students realise that the university has intensively invested in them and hopefully will come back and make their contribution to the development of TSU.”

According to the program, ten TSU students who have shown entrepreneurial skills during the qualifying stages will be able to do a nine-month business internship with high-tech startups of TechnoSpark and its partners in order to master the unique skills of the builder of a new technology business. They are going to try launching their own startups in one of the hardware industries of the future: robotics, photovoltaics, power generation, microelectronics, genomics, personalised medicine, new materials, unmanned transportation systems, etc. Afterwards the students will have an opportunity to defend their final qualifying projects by presenting successes and failures they have faced during a new startup launch.

“We are going to select not the best students, but those who, for various reasons, are fit for this type of activity,” noted Denis Kovalevich, CEO of TechnoSpark. “We do not intend to change anybody’s career orientation. We are looking for those who would like to try themselves as high-tech entrepreneurs. At the beginning of the internship, the students will be given a verified business hypothesis and some assets at their disposal afterwards. In addition to classical education, they will learn by doing.”

The interns will have access to the professional ecosystem of TechnoSpark: contract manufacturers, industrial designers, design engineers, process engineers, and other technology services. Each student will be paid 20 thousand rubles per month to cover personal expenses. Accommodation expenses will be reimbursed as well. The business internship will be held in one of the nanotech centers of TechnoSpark in Novosibirsk, Kazan, Ulyanovsk, Saransk, Dubna or Gatchina.

Students from any faculty can participate in the program, because the most important thing for the applicants is the willingness to run a business and to take the risks. An individual training track will be created by TSU for each winner.

Source: Official website of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia

Date: February 20, 2019