Integration of Resources as a Necessary Condition for Success
Establishment of the association was a logical continuation of the development of the nanotechnological market. The growth of the market is proved by the data of Rosstat and the studies regularly undertaken by the Foundation of the Infrastructural and Educational Programs (FIOP) of Rosnano Co. When it became obvious that besides design companies of Rosnano there were many enterprises in the market involved in development of the nanotechnological products, decision was taken to hold a congress. And it was held on September 19th, 2012, in Moscow, and it gathered over 400 representatives of the domestic companies from 38 subjects of the Russian Federation.
One of its decisions was establishment of an association which would help the enterprises solve collectively their problems and protect their interests. Although Rosnano was the organizer of the congress, actually the initiative on the establishment of IAN belonged to the enterprises themselves, which asked FIOP for an administrative support and organizational assistance.
The main prerequisite for formation of IAN was that similar problems and tasks faced a big number of companies and organizations although involved in different branches of the economy, but equally oriented on the manufacture of innovative products and development of new technologies. Most of them were small and medium businesses and had a very good potential for growth. A typical problem of such enterprises is that of an independent penetration into the large markets, because the work with natural monopolies and the state orders is very specific and demands big resources.
Another problem is how to attract investments, even if at the starting stage the requirements for means are rather small. Unfortunately, the investment practice in Russia is such that it is easier to find 500 million, than 50 million rubles. Practically all enterprises lack personnel of the necessary qualification, since the market of specialists in the nanotechnological area in our country is only being formed now, and so far the educational programs are poorly developed. A big group of problems is connected with the normative regulation, because the products and technologies are new, while the base of the specifications and technical documentation and standards is focused on the traditional and sometimes obsolete decisions.
In the most general terms the aim of IAN is creation of favorable conditions in Russia for development of business in the field of innovations and nanotechnologies, so that our companies would grow, become more competitive both in the Russian and the international markets. In order to achieve this purpose we realize projects in several directions. Firstly, we will help the members of the association to enter the perspective markets, in particular, to work with the state orders and large corporations. Secondly, we will deal with the problem of provision of qualified personnel for the industry. For this purpose together with FIOP we are working out the professional standards and plan to co-operate with the higher schools, so that our enterprises could inform them about their requirements to the graduates; the plans also include establishment of a centre for certification of experts for various directions of nanoindustry.
The third direction is dealing with the problems connected with standardization and technical regulation. We will represent and protect the interests of our enterprises both in the process of development of new and revision of the operating standards and other normative documents. And, besides, we plan to render information-analytical services to our enterprises, in particular, to inform them about the expected changes in the normative-legal base, about trends in various markets, about the programs of the state support operating at the regional and federal levels.
What are the relations of the association with Rosnano?
Rosnano is a member of our association just like
100 other organizations of nanoindustry. A.B.Chubais was elected to the post of the head of the board of guardians of IAN. In a number of the above directions we co-operate very fruitfully with FIOP, besides arrangements were reached concerning joint participation in exhibitions which will allow our enterprises to present in 2014 their products on favorable terms at such forums as MosBuild, IPhEB& CPhI Russia, Interpolitex, Composite-Expo and Innoprom. Certainly, in future we will do our best to develop cooperation, because Rosnano, firstly, is a potential investor in the projects of IAN members, and, secondly, possesses considerable administrative resources. We plan to work also with other development institutes, in particular, we have already got support from the Foundation of Assistance to Development of Small Form Enterprises in the scientific and technical spheres.
Which organizations can join IAN and what are the advantages of their membership in the association?
The legal persons-residents in the Russian Federation who share our aims can become members of the association. They can be industrial companies, scientific and educational institutions, and also other organizations working in the sphere of nanotechnologies and innovations. Participation in the association is especially advantageous for the small and medium companies, because it is very difficult for them alone to enter big markets, to participate in elaboration of standards or, for example, to inform the authorities about their positions on various questions. IAN allows such companies to integrate their resources for solving of the topical problems, including improvement of the normative document base, promotion of products or realization of the educational programs.
Very interesting is a possibility of cooperation between the companies in the technological and marketing areas. Most enterprises of the nanoindustry work in the b2b market and manufacture intermediate products, which complicates their search for investors and customers. If several companies find a way to integrate their efforts and jointly develop and promote complex solutions, their work becomes much more efficient. In Rosnano such projects are successfully dealt with by FIOP, and we will make use of the experience of the foundation in this area. Moreover, FIOP is ready to provide expertize, and administrative and financial support to the joint projects of IAN members.
A very important direction of work is assistance in attraction of investments. We plan to create on the basis of IAN an investment platform, so that the enterprises could present their products and projects to the potential investors – there are already preliminary arrangements about this with the Russian development institutes.
How is the joint work of IAN members coordinated?
For this purpose we have established three committees – on technical regulation, personnel and market development. The composition of the committees includes representatives of the enterprises. If necessary, we employ professionals from those branches and in those problems, which are discussed. Within the framework of the committees the following specializations were formed: biotechnologies, products and services for the oil branch, instrument making, and three more are still in their formation stage. As a rule, the work is based on the following scheme: several companies united by common interests, determine a work direction, for example, joint promotion of products or elaboration of normative documents; they discuss projects and estimate, what resources are required for their realization. If the available resources are not sufficient, we help to attract the foundation’s resources: experts, financial assets and administrative resources. Coordination of the projects is carried out by the companies themselves.
In order to increase the overall performance and interaction of IAN members we plan to create an Internet resource which will provide to the enterprises opportunity to place information about themselves, their products and requirements. Such a resource will become a good addition to the register of the nanotechnological products, presented on the site startbase.ru.
How do you evaluate the results of the work of IAN in 2013 and what are the plans for the next year?
The main result of the year, in my opinion, is that distrust has been overcome in relation to the fact that innovative companies can team up and solve serious problems collectively. Although we began an active work only in the summer of 2013, among our members already are over 100 companies, three committees were formed and work actively as professional discussion platforms – on our site we place information about the problems they discuss and results of their work. We held the second congress of the nanoindustry enterprises, which was important, among other things, for consolidation of the association as one of the leading forces in the industry.
By this moment an aggregate list has been prepared of the projects to be realized in 2014, and a plan of measures has been elaborated. From the point of view of the importance for development of business of the members of the association, I would like to mention carrying out of meetings with representatives of the largest potential customers of the innovative nanotechnological products, such as Gazprom, Transneft and RZhD. At these meetings experts of the customers will tell about the corporate standards, requirements to suppliers and products, while our enterprises will be able to present their solutions. In 2014 the Technical Regulation Committee plans to elaborate a single regulation on the system of standards, a concept for establishment of a distributed testing and meteorological center of the association, and also will deal with very interesting and important for IAN members project connected with the sign of the Russian Nanotechnological Products.
This sign will confirm correspondence of the products to the IAN standards in the field of safety and quality. We expect that in due course it will become an important image advantage of our enterprises, because the customers will be assured, that the products marked with it are of the highest quality. Certainly, creation and promotion of such a sign and elaboration of the corresponding normative document base is a long process, but I hope, that serious results will already be reached in 2014.
The Market Development Committee plans to undertake complex IAN monitoring of the target regional, branch and international markets, to conduct work on detection and removal of the barriers for application of the nanotechnological products by the largest consumers, to promote cooperation with the biggest branch associations and organizations participating in the advancement of products to various markets.
The plans of the Committee on Personnel envisage expertize and approval of the professional standards, creation of a system for estimation and certification of the qualifications of experts in nanoindustry, and also creation of a system for evaluation of the conformity to the requirements of the labor market and accreditation of the educational programs of the higher schools. We expect that by the end of 2014 most of our projects will pass from the stage of planning, IAN monitoring and coordination to their practical realization, which means, that the association’s work will start to bring real benefits to the enterprises.
Is cooperation with the international or-
ganizations included is your plans?
Certainly, we will develop cooperation with two groups of the international organizations. Firstly, with the associations of the manufacturers of nanotechnological products and associations of the enterprises working in the innovative sphere. We will begin with an information exchange with our European colleagues, and we also plan to participate in the partner programs of interest to our companies. Secondly, we will work with the international and national organizations in the standardization sphere. In the modern conditions of globalization of the markets an understanding of the world trends and operative obtaining of information on the processes in the field of technical regulation is important even for those of our companies which operate only in the Russian market.
How do you evaluate the level of development of the Russian nanoindustry?
Results of the congresses of the enterprises and the fact of establishment of our association itself allow us to say with confidence, that nanoindustry in our country has been formed and is now a mature business community. This is also confirmed by the data of Rosstat, according to which more than 1300 companies work in the area of nanotechnologies in Russia. Now there are examples of successful companies in absolutely different branches – from technologies and equipment for the power engineering up to medical products. The number of the enterprises grows, and we have more and more successful start-ups.
It is difficult to compare the levels of development of the nanoindustries in Russia and other countries, since there are no uniform international standards defining what exactly belongs to the given area, and therefore different approaches to statistics formation are used. I believe that Russia occupies an adequate place in the market of nanotechnologies, and we will do our best to strengthen these positions in future!
Thank you for the interesting story.
The interview was taken by D.Y.Gudilin