||THE FATES OF PROJECTS
A great many ideas were presented at the YDP contest. In this section of our
Website you can find the interviews with the most daring contestants and the
history of their projects|
||TATYANA SAVENKOVA, , |
|THE CULTURAL CENTER OF PEOPLE’S CREATIVITY|
Tatyana, how did you learn about the contest and why did you decide to participate in it?
I first heard about the contest from one of my college friends. He had participated in the contest earlier and was granted SPIBA membership as an award. At that time I already knew about several SPIBA member companies and it seemed interesting to me to get there. I had little time to prepare for the contest. Then I thought it would be interesting to enter the contest with the project of a Center of People’s Creativity I was thinking about at that time. The jury liked my idea and I was qualified for the final ten. It was great participating in the contest! I learned some lessons. Hearing my colleagues, I understood that I should have presented a more practical idea. What was your idea all about?
The idea provided for the creation of a Center of People’s Creativity that would allow anyone to try themselves in all kinds of traditional craft – pottery, blacksmith’s work and suchlike. I thought, my idea agreed well with one of the contest stipulations was that the presented ideas should be about something still unavailable in this city as at that time there was no center of this kind in St. Petersburg, except for a traditional craft school at the Ethnographic Museum.You have participated in the YDP contests twice. What kind of project did you present next?
I entered the next contest with a new idea evoked by the needs of our everyday living. I know very well that laundering is a big problem for many young people. So I suggested creating a chain of laundries under a single trademark. It so happened that just at the time when I was making economic estimates for this project, there was an equipment exhibition at Lenexpo and I got in contact with a Moscow company that trades in laundry equipment. They provided me with all information required to assess the economic efficiency of my project. My project turned out to be quite profitable, according to the estimates I made. Was your project noticed at the contest?
Yes. The jury placed my project third and my project also received two special awards as the Best Leasing Idea and For Activity. Representatives of the banking community got interested in my project. Yet, at that time I was all busy writing my graduation thesis. So my project was never implemented. Yet now I see a similar project has been successfully implemented in this city.Tanya, was it interesting to participate in the contest? Tell us some words about your impression of the contest?
It was great participating! The contestants are all interesting young people with amazing ideas and very energetic. And the jury included government officials, bankers, CEOs. They all advised how our projects could be improved. It was a fine school to me. And it was interesting to examine myself. What are you doing now?
I am doing my postgraduate study at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Technology and Design. I also work as coordinator of the personnel department of a big auditing company. I think I have found myself. I like my job a lot. After a merger our company has 120 employees. My job is endless communication with people, trying to help them. How do you think the contest is helpful to young people?
The contest is a great school, an opportunity to manifest yourself. Few universities and colleges give their young talents the opportunity to demonstrate themselves, make their projects publicly known. The YDP Club is another advantage, with the best specialists coming to share their experience with us, young people. It is all very interesting and pleasing. I have a most pleasant memory of my participation in the contest. I always tell everybody about it with pride.
||Svetlana Lvova, , |
|A Car Rental Service in St. Petersburg|
Svetalana, why did you decide to take part in the contest The Young, The Daring The Promising?
I wanted to present to investors my project of a car rental service in St. Petersburg to find out the possibility of obtaining investment for this business. The project was already underway. A small car park had been created to work out the details of the project, profitability and demand for this kind of service. In order for the project to yield considerable profits it was necessary to enlarge the car park. That is why, investment was needed. The project took into account all details, including demand, costs, payback, risks. Yet I did not have any experience of communicating with investors. So I was very interested to participate in the contest. How was your project received by the jury and the audience?
The jury raised questions concerning investment risks related to the project. The general opinion was that the project was rather risky as there was no legislative basis for the guarantees on the part of the consumers of this kind of services in Russia yet. What is your general opinion about the contest?
The contest was well organized in terms of the project presentation. The organizers sympathized with and supported the contestants. Yet the contest lacked a kind of feedback: it would have been interesting to hear the opinions of all investors who were present, rather than just hear questions from them. The contest should have been paid more attention to by the media. With good advertising, it would be possible to draw a larger number of investors, raising the chance of the contestants this way. Did you receive proposals from investors after the contest was over?
Unfortunately, I did not receive any proposals but I am still sure the project must be completed earlier or later. The car rental market in St. Petersburg is still vacant, with only 2-3 firms working in this sector while demand for this service is growing each year.What was the fate of your project?
At the contest I heard about the Association of Direct Investors whose representatives were invited to the project presentation. I asked them to consider my business plan and did not receive a refusal. They told me my business plan needed some revision so that all requirements on the part of investors be met. Talking with the representatives of the Association was a good lesson to me. I appreciate a lot their careful attitude. The further search for investors has been suspended as it required temporary expenses. So the project has been put off for the time being. I think that soon I will resume accomplishing my project What are you doing now?
At present I am working in a field distant from cars. My activity is connected with fashion clothes. I happened to meet the representatives of the Italian factories producing men’s and women’s clothing. They wanted to enter the Russian market. As I did not have funds for my own project at that time, I decided to set up a clothing wholesale center. Our firm supply clothes from different countries (Italy, Poland, Norway, Turkey, Russia) and works with supermarkets, fashion shops and shopping centers in St. Petersburg, Moscow and other regions. Was the contest useful to you?
The contest was my first attempt to promote my project. Direct talks with investors gave me the opportunity to assess my project from a professional viewpoint and see both the strong and weak points of my project. I want to tell the future contestants not to be disappointed if their projects are not praised at the contest. The negative result is often much more useful than the positive one. If you are sure that your project is really viable, continue searching for contacts with investors, listen to their comments. And the main thing is that you should not lose confidence. You will manage to do all you are planning.
||Gribin Aleksey, SPBGU, 21|
|The Debt of Russia|
Aleksey, you have participated in the contest three times. How come you entered your first contest?
It was in the year 2000. I was working on a project and I thought that it would be interesting to make a public report about the project so as to know various opinions. Then I learned from the media about the contest The Young, The Daring, The Promising and sent in my application.
What kind of project was it?
My project provides for the creation of a chain of cafes that would offer healthy foods in St. Petersburg. I had a feeling that the project would succeed. I thought at that time that there was a lack in such cafes in the city. The project was based on the concept of healthy nutrition but there was also another feature that made this project distinguishable. I did not reveal this feature then. The project did not draw enough attention at the contest. It required a considerable investment. I understood there were more feasible projects that could be realized at a lower cost.
What was your impression about your first contest?
Of course, I felt sorry that I did not receive money for my project. Now I understand that if I were an investor, I would hardly given any money to this project either. Anyway, I am sure that I will accomplish this project one day.
Your second project The Underground Games had something to do with running on the subway moving stairway. How did you come across such an unusual idea?
When I was a schoolboy, I liked running down the subway escalators. Then when I was already a first-year student, I thought it would be interesting to carry out this kind of project. When I was a fourth-year students, I was thinking long and hard about what kind of project I could present at my second contest. I decided it would be fun presenting the Underground Games. So I entered the contest with this project to know opinions about it.
What were the opinions?
After the contest many people came up to me telling how to accomplish my project. I applied to the Extreme Sports Federation. A business proposal was prepared. We planned to conduct our action on the day of the opening of a new subway station. Unfortunately, we did not manage to find anyone ready to invest in the project. Yet, we are still looking for the money for the project. Nevertheless, since then I have turned to more practicable projects.
This year you and Maksim Cherenkov presented the Debt of Russia project. How did you come across such an interesting idea?
The Debt of Russia is quite an unusual project. We did not intend to make this project commercial. This is an absolutely new kind of project. It all began in 2000 when I went to Norway where young people from 110 countries gathered for an international conference. The participants were divided into 14 groups. The group I was in studied the problem of national debts. We talked to each other and decided to make an international project on the problem of national debts. Yet it turned out to be a very difficult task. Anyway, I was interested to tackle this problem on the Russian national level. For a year and a half I thought how to approach the problem. Then my friend Maksim joined me in my work and we designed the Debt of Russia project together. Now we have a Website about the foreign debt of Russia
http://www.info.debt.ru and a Website about our project
http://www.debt.ru. There is a great interest in our Website project on the part of analysts and we will be promoting our project still further. The Debt of Russia project openly indicates the problem of the Russian foreign debt. If this problem exists, why should we not solve it now, paying $150 bln now than three times as much later.
Have your project drawn attention at the contest?
We got in contact with representatives of the United Russia political party. They got interested in the project and suggested cooperation on condition the project is carried out on behalf of their party. We launched our project on Aug. 17, sending 150 letters to banks. We have received four responses so far and now we are negotiating with two Moscow banks. I hope we will reach agreement with them by the end of this year. I would like to enter the new year with our project already underway. In this case, it will be possible to commence paying off the national debt next February. Now we already know 20 persons ready to contribute a total $15,000.
Aleksey, what project are you working on now?
At present, I am busy with the Debt of Russia project. At the same time, together with my partner we are going to start an Internet hosting company. See http://www.westhost.ru
What have you acquired in participating in the contest?
I have become more self-assured. I have heard specialist opinions about my project. Now I can see what kind of attitude the public can take towards my project.
||Maksim Radyuk, a postgraduate of Bonch-Bruevich Institute, 22|
|Intellectual Property-Based Profit Making|
Maksim, why did you decide to take part the contest first? How did you come across your business idea? Maksim:
The project I presented at the 2001 contest was titled “The Correction, Revision and Enhancement of Professional Skills and Expertise”. The project was intended to help improve the professional abilities of specialists up to a required level. Although I did not qualify for the final round, I was glad to participate as I could publicize the said subject.Your project has never been implemented. Why do you think it happened so? Did you hope to obtain investment for your project? Maksim:
Presenting my project to the contest, I pursued three goals. First, I wanted to publicize the subject through the media. Second, I wanted some outward response to my project. Investment was just my third goal. Even if the project had drawn the attention of investors, it would have taken another half a year to think the subject all over because the main task was to raise the problem and make people think about it.Did your first participation help you understand how your projects should be prepared and presented? Maksim:
My participation helped me understand what the jury and specialists thought about the said subject and what they focused on. Their statements helped me prepare my new project that was a continuation of my first one.What project did you present at your second contest? What has happened to him since? Maksim:
My second project concerns the labor and education markets, legislation. College graduates are not practically experienced enough to get good jobs. So my idea was to create an enterprise that would help young specialists reach a required level of preparedness. In my second project, I also touched upon legislation, in particular, the Labor Code.What do you propose in your project? Maksim:
I suggest a kind of business training center where college graduates could further grow into, say, sales managers.How would this enterprise make earnings? What kind of commercial advantage could your business training center have?Maksim:
The enterprise will make earnings as it will actually sell prepared specialists to companies interested in them. We will make contracts with the companies interested. Will your business training center train specialists for all business sectors?Maksim:
It will depend on demand on the labor market. We will train specialists in current demand. What is the ultimate purpose of your project?Maksim:
The mission of our project is that we propose creating a business training center that will not only provide consultations like any consulting company, but help treat the problems of their clients. In other words, our center is a kind of hospital to treat “sick” companies. Did your project attract attention at the contest?Maksim:
I think everybody started to think about the problem. People read my CV, got interested in me as specialist in the given sector. Actually all my expectations fulfilled. The financial director of the investment company Nikoil talked with me discussing my vision of the problem. Do you think your idea has good prospects?Maksim:
To put it short and open, I think my idea will be indispensable in some three years. Then companies will fight for good specialists. It is already happening. Soon people will understand that the problem requires a legislative solution.How did your participation in the contest help you?Maksim:
As a young specialist, I have gained the experience of speaking before an audience Sergei Alexandrovich, an “intellectual investor”
:Maksim himself has encountered the problem of finding a job. He understood that college education was not enough. This is how he came upon his idea of the correction and improvement of the expertise of specialists. When he presented his idea to me, I compared it to a new, fresh movement. So the project was called VETER (The WIND). Now the idea has developed into a center of technology and innovations and Maksim is the coordinator of this center.
||Artur Yavny, Pavel Romanov, The St. Petersburg University of Engineering Economics,, |
|INTERNATIONAL MODERN ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL |
Artur Yavny participated in one of the first YDP contests. Together with his present partner Pavel Romanov, he had to overcome many difficulties to start their own business. It all began with the 1999 YDP contest. Artur, how did it all start?
The first project we presented to the contest was the international festival of electronic music. We proposed conducting this festival in St. Petersburg. Soon after the contest we found an investor, Energo Company. But later our interests clashed because they invested in one more project providing for the construction of a hotel. All their investments went to that project instead of ours. What projects did you prepare for the next contest?
We sent in three projects to the next contest. The first project provided for the renovation of a beach in the recreational zone of St. Petersburg. We suggested that the city government should take the long-term lease of an abandoned beach to reanimate it. We found an investor in this project. What happened to that project eventually?
Eventually the Kurortny district administration with which we were negotiating about our project refused to cooperate with us stating that there was no abandoned beach in the area. So we had to suspend our project. Our second project provided for the introduction of discount cards in this city. The owner of such a card could be granted discounts in shops, restaurants, night clubs, etc. This project interested investors from Novgorod. They were working on a similar project in that city but their project was meant for a narrower category of population. They suggested that we do our project the way they do theirs in Novgorod. Yet, we declined their proposal and concentrated on our third project.Tell us more about this project.
The project provided for the broadcasting in St. Petersburg of the Moscow radio station 106.8. It was an interesting project for both us and our Moscow partners. They were interested to come to the St. Petersburg market. The novelty of the project was that we were planning to create a universal format from the combination of three most popular radio stations. Did the project draw the attention of investors?
When we introduced the project to the contest, we met a fierce opposition from the radio station Europe Plus. Still, we managed to find an investor. We were planning to broadcast through a satellite owned by the Moscow radio station. An agreement was reached that we would broadcast not only to St. Petersburg, but also to some other Russian cities. Everything was prepared. We only had to find a frequency. What did you do then?
We had several alternatives – to hire an existing frequency or to buy a new one. First, we opted for the first alternative. We found only one frequency 107. 8 fm that belonged to the Russian State Broadcasting Company. Unfortunately, the proposed leasing conditions did not suit us. So we took up the second alternative. We got in contact with the organization responsible for the distribution of radio frequencies in St. Petersburg. We were told that there were no vacant frequencies in St. Petersburg: they all were reserved for defense purposes. So we did not manage to buy a new frequency and decided to buy an existing one. We found only one radio station Gardarika but, unfortunately, an audit examination uncovered certain problems and we had to give up this idea, too. Eventually you went an absolutely different way, didn’t you?
Yes, we decided to switch over to another field. We opened our own advertising agency A@P. This name reflects our partnership – Artur and PavelHow did you come across this idea?
Participating in the contest has given us the experience of communicating with financial companies, the experience of real project planning. The main problem that was discussed during the meetings at the YDP club was how to find investors and protect intellectual property rights. If you want to have investors in your business, they take 51% of the stock. So financially your idea is no longer yours, you have to share it with someone controlling your activity. We found a different way. We did not have any investments made. During a year we were thinking how to begin. Then some customers – a Moscow advertising agency conducting projects in St. Petersburg – got in contact with us. So we opened their representative office here. How is your business going?
For a year and a half we have been conducting the projects of our Moscow customers. But this is not all. We began to look for other customers in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Now our agency is also conducting the projects of two Moscow and several St. Petersburg agencies. These agencies do not have their own promotion departments. So we undertake their promotion actions. Now we are beginning a project of our own with the tobacco company NEVA-Tabak as customer. Our project aims to increase their sales.