The Next Silicon Valley ... Is in Russia?
The Russian government is moving to create the world's next big high-tech hub, earmarking $3 billion for the project over the next four years, the magazine reports. That doesn't include indirect investment via tax breaks to companies who decide to set up shop there.
Plans for Russia's innovation center include a research university, 40 corporate R&D centers and a “Technopark” to house up to 1,000 different start-ups. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has agreed to set up the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, The Economist reports, and companies based in Skolkovo will get great tax breaks and special treatment with visas and imports.
Of course, Skolkovo has some competition: The list of "next Silicon Valley" contenders already includes such hot spots as Silicon Alley (in New York), Silicon Hills (Austin, Texas), Silicon Roundabout (London), and Silicon Wadi (Israel).
And the magazine points out that it will take time to build "a culture of turning whizzy ideas into profitable businesses." Still, Russia hopes to create a start-up pipeline in the city. Companies can apply for resident status, which brings tax breaks, grant eligibility, and other perks, the magazine says.
So far more than 500 firms have obtained resident status, with more than 100 getting money from the Skolkovo Foundation.
And in August, the first class of 21 students will begin their studies at the technical institute. They will spend their first year studying abroad, The Economist notes.