Tobolsk Hosted a Productive Weekend Workshop for Entrepreneurs
17 february 2021
Tobolsk became the venue for a two-day intensive training workshop for entrepreneurs called A Productive Weekend. The event was made possible through a partnership between SIBUR and Our Future, a Regional Social Programs Foundation, who each contributed their resources to PROGorod, a program being implemented as part of the Formula for Good Deeds seeking to provide support to fledgling and ongoing social entrepreneurship projects.
SIBUR and Our Future started their active partnership back in 2019. Initially, PROGorod’s participants spent their time getting acquainted with the concept of social entrepreneurship, trying to understand what it means, and evaluating potential local niches for developing social entrepreneurship in Tobolsk. A training course was put on for anyone who wished to participate, and those who completed it with the best ideas for a social project were awarded grants by SIBUR.
This cooperative effort has proven to be quite effective while showing that educational initiatives are very much in demand. A Business Transformation Marathon that was launched last year as part of SIBUR's Formula for Good Deeds social investment program became a natural segue to the partners’ joint efforts. A Productive Weekend, an intensive training workshop, became a yet another important event in the series of the program’s campaigns. Guest experts spent two days helping local entrepreneurs formulating new pathways to business development and introducing them to tools that can be used to analyze the needs of one’s target audience. The event was attended by 31 entrepreneurs from Tobolsk and the Tobolsk District, including Mikhail Turyshev who specializes in folk arts and crafts. In 2019, he received his initial training at the social entrepreneurship school.
I found that class to be very useful: I learned how to build a financial model, started an online store, and much more. The most recent training session was equally useful. It allowed me to take a different look at my target audience, Turyshev commented.
In addition to teaching the class how to analyze one’s target audience, the instructors taught the students how to create a competitive product, ways to improve their teams’ effectiveness, and told them about financial business models and unit economy, available support measures for entrepreneurs, tools for launching one’s new projects quicker, how to make sales, work with marketplaces in 2021, and many other things.
I can’t wait to try out the new knowledge I've acquired! I need to analyze everything in order to find the right solution and increase my sales, Alexander Zaborsky, another workshop participant and the head of a local programming school, said.
SIBUR finds it important to provide its support to keeping the momentum going and pursuing the positive development trends Tobolsk has been experiencing lately. This includes implementing new SME initiatives, providing entrepreneurs with relevant up-to-date service sector competencies, etc. As we strive to get to new heights together, we have been initiating various educational and grant support measures resulting in a long-term effect for all those involved in our city life, Elena Belskaya, Head of ZapSibNeftekhim's Government Relations Department, noted.
The workshop was taught by:
- Pavel Mikhailov (Moscow), entrepreneur, CEO of cloudgroup.pro, a tech startup launch studio, a tracker for IIDF, Beeline, MBM, Growth Formula, X5, Megafon. Lead tracker for ISLA, IT-Contract. Lecturer at MSPP under MIP.
- Bogdan Odarchenko (Rostov-on-Don), founder and product manager of 2UP, expert at IIDF pre-accelerator, tracker for Southern IT-Park, IT-Contract.
- Daria Pashko (Novosibirsk), program manager at Garage, a Student Business Incubator (NSTU), a product expert with the Charisma business proficiency center, an expert with IT-Contract, a former representative of IIDF in Novosibirsk.
Olga Sidorova, regional representative, Our Future Foundation: All workshop attendees spent the two days of training with immense interest. Most of them noted that they had learned how to identify their target audience, how to hear, listen and talk to, a prospective buyer properly, define their needs and values, develop metrics, and process assumptions. Some of them made a firm decision to obtain the status of a social enterprise.
The workshop ended with a review session at which the participants selected eight winners who will be entitled to individualized support from the experts. As part of the cooperation between Our Future and SIBUR, further plans are already being drawn up for a new and exciting partnership project: the Growth Formula acceleration program for social entrepreneurs.
Background information about Our Future Foundation
Our Future, a Regional Social Programs Foundation (http://nb-fund.ru/), is the first organization in Russia that got involved in developing social entrepreneurship. The Foundation was established in 2007 at the initiative of Vagit Alekperov, a prominent businessman, and over the years it has evolved into one of a few organizations in the world that strive to provide comprehensive support to socially conscious businesses ranging from financial assistance to consulting.
In the course of the Social Entrepreneur Contest of Projects (http://konkurs.nb-fund.ru/) the Foundation supported 255 projects from 58 regions for a total of RUB 693.2 mln. Funding is provided in the form of interest-free earmarked loans.
In 2013, in a drive to assist social businesses in reaching a wider market, the Foundation, jointly with LUKOIL, launched a project titled More Than Just a Purchase" (http://nepokupka.ru/). Since that time, products manufactured by social entrepreneurs have been on offer at filling stations’ mini marts.
Since 2014, the Foundation has been running a Social Entrepreneurship Lab (http://lab-sp.ru/) offering webinars and specialized courses. The Lab’s instructors include prominent Russian experts in the field of social entrepreneurship.
The Foundation instituted the Impulse of Kindness Award (http://impulsdobra.ru/) for contribution to the development and promotion of social entrepreneurship that it has been awarding to Russia’s social entrepreneurs, representatives of non-profit organizations, heads of government agencies and relevant sectoral institutions, journalists, media outlets, and higher education institutions.
In addition, the Foundation has been producing its own original and translated publications while also maintaining its information and analysis portal called New Business: Social Entrepreneurship (http://nb-forum.ru/), developing education programs and lawmaking initiatives in the area of social entrepreneurship, and hosting various kinds of fora and meets.
The PROGorod program, implemented in 2019 with SIBUR’s support, was designed to promote efforts aimed at supporting comprehensive development of the community of social entrepreneurs in Tobolsk and in the Tobolsk District.
The program included a special training course on social entrepreneurship for the city’s and district’s residents as well as a contest of projects. The contest committee received and reviewed over 70 applications and supported 10 projects spanning such areas as children's education and development, healthy living, museum-related activities and sports for a total amount of investments exceeding RUB 1.7 million.
Implementation of the PROGorod program in 2019 helped create 24 new jobs (including 13 for people with disabilities), and resulted in more than 32.5 thousand social services being provided to the residents. The program helped the residents of Tobolsk to better understand the nuances of social entrepreneurship, see new promising areas and niches for business development, and create their own project in the social field.