On September 17-19, FINOPOLIS 2018 (Forum of Innovative Financial Technologies) was held in Sochi, Russia. Participants discussed development of financial infrastructure in Russia, introduction of financial technologies in the banking sector, development of ecosystems, and the role of the regulator in the development and application of financial technologies. GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) Russia team from Graduate School of Management SPbU commented on Elvira Nabiullina’s speech on financial infrastructure development and financial technologies support.
GEM Russia team noted that the need to develop the country's financial infrastructure is an extremely important factor in increasing entrepreneurial activity in Russia, which is confirmed by research results. According to the GEM results (GEM 2017 report), the low availability of funding resources for new and developing companies is one of the most topical problems of Russian entrepreneurship. The state of such condition as access to financing is currently much worse in Russia than in economically developed countries, as well as in other BRIC countries.
Fig. 1 Expert assessment of the availability of funding in BRIC countries 2000-2017, GEM data, National Expert Survey.
Russian young companies are now practically inaccessible to traditional financing mechanisms, such as receiving investments through the placement of shares on the market. Assessing the availability of funding, GEM project experts have repeatedly noted that entrepreneurial firms lack their own capital, and it is difficult for them to gain access to venture capital, government subsidies and business development loans. According to experts, access to financing for new companies is difficult because of the unavailability of money - expensive loans, the total mistrust of banks and other financial institutions in business. At the same time, experts noted that despite the problems in access to traditional sources of financing, such modern tool as crowdfunding is much more accessible to entrepreneurs and young companies. It can be assumed that the development of the infrastructure of modern financing instruments based on new technology and business models (such as crowdfunding and crowdinvesting) can help small Russian businesses to overcome the problem of access to finance. In addition, development of the FinTech market is connected with the perspective transition of Russia from a group of countries with an efficiency-oriented economy to a group of innovation-oriented countries. Communication, information, and financial services in innovation-oriented countries employ 2.5 times more entrepreneurs than in performance-oriented countries, which is also associated with development of entrepreneurial activity.
One of various achievements of FINOPOLIS is bringing together leading experts and entrepreneurs specializing in modern financial technologies (FinTech), as well as representatives of regulatory organizations and the main consumers of fintechnologies - representatives of leading banks of the country. Every year discussions at the forum raise issues related to the obstacles to the introduction of new technologies aimed at developing of financial infrastructure in the country.
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the world's largest study of entrepreneurial activity. In 2017, about 200 thousand people from 54 countries took part in the survey. The participating countries represent 68% of world’s population and more than 86% of GDP. GEM helps to increase the awareness of the authorities in business issues and to adjust their policies regarding the development of entrepreneurship in many countries around the world.
Russia has been part of the project for over 10 years and is represented by Graduate School of Management St. Petersburg University research team. Since 2018 GEM Russia project has been implemented in cooperation with Sberbank. The next national report for 2018/2019 will be published and presented in spring 2019.