Social entrepreneurship in Russia: what the experts say
A conference on ‘Social Entrepreneurship in Russia and the Future of the Country’ has discussed proposed new legislation, Social Innovation Centres (CISS), and small loans that assist the attainment of ambitious goals.
At a similarly entitled press conference, dedicated to the International Day of Social Business (IDSB), experts discussed prospects for the development of social business in the Russian Federation. Natalia Zvereva, director of the Our Future Foundation which organised the meeting, said that Russia joined the IDSB in 2013 and within six years numbers of people attending IDSB events increased from 2,000 to 500,000.
‘Social entrepreneurship is on the up. Earlier meetings which we organised tended to be local, but this year they were held at federal district level and became a genuine networking platform for exchanging experiences,’ Zvereva said.
The Social Entrepreneurship Bill
Sergei Katyrin, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted that a number of issues need to be resolved in order to develop social entrepreneurship in Russia. The new bill is key to this.
‘The law will define social entrepreneurship, list social categories, specify forms of support, and so on,’ Katyrin said.
Adopting the law will expand ways in which businesses can be supported so their numbers will increase, Katyrin argues. The Law on Social Entrepreneurship, if adopted, will help find jobs for people with disabilities, parents of large families, pensioners, young people brought up in children’s homes, and former prison inmates. The second reading of the bill is due to take place on 9 July 2019.
In addition, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is gathering information on social practices, identified nationally, that can be recommended to Territorial Chambers of Commerce and Industry – of which there are currently 180. This is necessary ‘to give specific help to people targeted by social business,’ Katyrin said. It will also permit the creation of a Register of Social Enterprises for the future.
Social Innovation Centres
‘Social entrepreneurship is one of the points included in the plan for implementing a nationwide business development project. The bill creates a regulatory framework, allowing regions to receive additional support measures,’ Vadim Zhivulin, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, said at the conference.
Social Innovation Centres (CISS), supported by the ministry since 2013, are helping to develop social business, he added. There are currently 38 centres throughout the country, and in coming years their number should increase to 70.
‘These are places where companies can learn about concessional lending, take advantage of services offered by microfinance organisations, and take small loans that can help bring great success,’ Zhivulin said.