Passion for entrepreneurship has inspired us to create Foundum. We believe in entrepreneurs as they have the greatest potential to drive, change and positively influence economies & societies.

August, 2010

Skolkovo: Russia creates its own Silicon Valley

Monday, August 30th, 2010

We recently traveled to Russia.  After having spoken with a few entrepreneurs and business men there we learnt that the latest hype is a government-funded project to build a “Russian Silicon Valley” in Skolkovo, just outside of Moscow. It’s Russian president Dmitry Medvedev’s latest project and it’s meant to provide a huge space for Russia’s tech entrepreneurs.

His project has been causing a lot of controversy amongst journalists, entrepreneurs and other members of the Russian business community. On the one hand, it’s very promising to the community that the Russian government has initiated such a project in order to go along with the new and modern market trends. On the other hand, the question of what the right approach is in order to create a local entrepreneurial ecosystem is being debated. Will it be enough if a lot of government funded offices, buildings and infrastructure are being built? What do entrepreneurs really need?

Russian cities are not alone in this new endeavor. Other city governments are trying to build their own local Silicon Valleys, for example  @22 in Barcelona. These are great initiatives. However, their growth is slow and rumours state that the real needs of entrepreneurs are not often met.

Alexei Bayer, a native Muscovite, is a New York-based economist and wrote an article on Medvedev plans:

“I don’t know what Obama thought of Medvedev’s Manilov-like plans for Skolkovo, but I suspect that the U.S. president, who got his start as a community organizer in innercity Chicago, probably would have advised him to start Russia’s technological breakthrough with small practical steps — for instance, buying computers for schools and hiring more math teachers.

While less ambitious, it would have been more useful. Silicon Valleys grow from the bottom up and are not imposed by a Kremlin fiat.”

It’s not only about investing a lot of money. Today’s entrepreneurial communities must leverage each others’ resources in order to compete in the global marketplace. By sharing resources and creating tight networks and communities, entrepreneurs can greatly reduce time and costs of supporting and conducting business.

Richard Branson’s life at 30,000 feet

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

THE serial entrepreneur Richard Branson talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about his ups and downs of his entrepreneurial path. from his multibillionaire success to his multiple near-death experiences — and reveals some of his (very surprising) motivations. “Building companies is all about finding and inspiring the right people and drawing out the best in people.” Despite of having had such enormous success we were touched to see how “human”, humorous and humble he has remained.