11th St. Petersburg Partneriat for SMEs

From March 14 to March 16, the Expoforum Convention and Exhibition Centre served as a venue for the 11th St. Petersburg Partneriat for SMEs, dedicated to collaboration between St. Petersburg and Russian and foreign regions.

The official opening ceremony was attended by Sergey Movchan, Vice Governor of St. Petersburg; Viktor Ikonnikov, Deputy Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region; Zamirbek Askarov, First Vice Mayor of the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan; and Bakhrom Ashrafkhanov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the Russian Federation.

During his welcoming address, Sergey Movchan highlighted that this year's Partneriat featured over 1,000 pre-arranged business meetings and negotiations, more than 120 presentations by participating companies, 50+ consultations at the Consultation Business Centre, and 12 round tables and panel discussions on different topics. 'I am happy to see that the number of participants keeps growing every year, while the events' range of topics continues to expand,' he noted. 'And I am certain that, if these trends keep up, the Partneriat will remain a valid tool for increasing the competitiveness of SME in the days to come'.

Bakhrom Ashrafkhanov, in turn, pointed out, 'Today, when the world is changing rapidly, it is more important than ever to make a joint effort to develop our country's industry. And business community, the members of which have come to this magnificent city from all over Russia and the globe, has the most important role to play in this process'.

Viktor Ikonnikov also remarked upon the Partneriat's efficiency in his speech. According to him, the Arkhangelsk Region in particular had entered into 10 major agreements in different business and industrial sectors after the 2016 event and was expecting new record-breaking achievements after this year's event as well.

To culminate the opening ceremony and celebrate Russia's Year of Ecology, all Partneriat participants watered the symbolic tree, which, during the upcoming three days, would yield a 'harvest' of practical decisions and resolutions, contracts and agreements, and inter-regional and international cooperation.

Throughout this three-day event, the exhibition and the business programme was attended by 2,000 people, representing the authorities and the business community of 47 Russian regions and 21 countries.

The Partneriat's convention programme was comprised out of 12 events of various formats. The key topics for discussion included the use of innovations and IT in agriculture and industry, the prospects of collaboration between universities and business, the digitalisation of industry, comprehensive projects as development drivers for regional SME, e-commerce, human resources as a key to industrial growth, etc.

The collective expo of the 2017 Partneriat showcased the achievements of St. Petersburg's 18 partners: the Lipetsk, Leningrad, Kursk, Ryazan, Oryol, Vologda, Kaliningrad, Arkhangelsk, Saratov, and Novgorod regions; the Republics of Komi, Tatarstan, Karelia, and Udmurtia; and Lappeenranta (Finland) and Taiwan.

The visitors could inspect two booths dedicated to the SME support infrastructure, and receive consultations.

The Partneriat also featured presentations for SME's. There were more than 120 presentations held over the course of three days.

The Matchmaking Centre reported over 1,200 meetings and negotiations registered in three days. As many as 45 enterprises spent the three days making over 450 business consultations at the Consultation Business Centre, where they spoke to the St. Petersburg Partneriat's participants about business management, financial and information support, legal services, the optimisation of production and technological processes, investment encouragement, and leasing.

The venue also hosted a matchmaking centre for subcontractors. The negotiations involved 62 potential suppliers.

Meet Russia was the official operator and provided turnkey organisation of the Partneriat.

Customer: Committee for International Relations of St. Petersburg