In a renewed round of innovation cooperation in the post-Soviet area, the Skolkovo Foundation, the Russian organization in charge of building a world-class technology hub near Moscow, is expected to start screening and funding technology start-ups from the neighboring CIS countries.
The CIS Economic Council will vest the Foundation next month with full powers to run a ten-year interstate collaboration program, the Armenian Mediamax news agency reported.
According to Skolkovo’s vice president Stanislav Naumov, residents of the Skolkovo tech hub will be granted zero taxation and enjoy 100% reimbursement of the customs duties they pay for imported equipment. Coupled with Skolkovo’s own screening and packaging methodologies, and eased migration legislation for innovators from CIS countries, this program will also reportedly provide commercialization strategies for innovative products emerging in CIS member states.
So far, out of more than 20 Skolkovo applications from the CIS countries, one application for the hub’s biomedical cluster is reported to have already been approved. The Foundation is considering opening a representative office in one of the CIS countries later this year, marking its third overseas office. The existing two are in the US and Israel.
At the moment, the Skolkovo Foundation supports an estimated 350 Russian innovation companies, with 220 of those coming from 30 different regions in Russia. Plans are to increase the number of residents to 500 companies this year, Mr. Naumov added.
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