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Big field for big ambitions: Russia’s Silicon Valley grows in size

Published time: September 09, 2010 21:13
Edited time: September 09, 2010 21:13

Trying to entice more companies to get involved in the project, the Skolkovo business and innovation center has promised to expand its “safety net”, offering participants unprecedented benefits.

The influence of the Skolkovo business and innovation hub is expanding before the campus itself has even been completed.

In an attempt to create a country-wide business network, the center has promised high-tech companies across Russia a package of benefits that they could hardly ever dream of: the participants will be exempt from income tax, property tax, custom duties, and even VAT.

If before, such benefits were promised only for companies that are located in the research hub itself, situated 20 kilometers outside Moscow, now these privileges will extend to any companies in Russia that become involved at this early stage with the project.

The aim is to speed the process up since, earlier, officials were worried that the companies would not want to relocate in Skolkovo until the center was built. With the new incentives, they hope, the project will be finished in the next four to five years.

The reason to hurry is the amount of money the government is putting into the project: 100 billion roubles ($3.3 billion) are to be spent on Skolkovo during the next four years.

Another 47 amendments to the regional bill concerning Skolkovo will be proposed at the second meeting of the State Duma.

Skolkovo is to become a significant part of Russia’s modernization and shifting away from a commodities-based economy to an innovation and science-based economy.