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HSE University Students Present Their Start-Ups at Expocentre

HSE University Students Present Their Start-Ups at Expocentre

© Andrey Goryachev / HSE University

Reklama 2021, the 28th international specialized expedition for advertising, was held at Expocentre from October 18–21 as part of the programme for Russia’s Year of Science and Technology. The HSE University stand at the exhibition showcased projects by students of the minor ‘Start-up from Scratch: Creating Your Own Business.’ The exhibition also included the signing of a cooperation agreement between the university and Expocentre AO.

The signatories of the agreement were Expocentre AO General Director Alexey Vyalkin and HSE University Vice President Igor Agamirzian. Mr. Agamirzian is also the head of the Department of Innovation Management, which developed the minor ‘Start-up from Scratch: Creating Your Own Business'.

Igor Agamirzian and Alexey Vyalkin
Photo: Expocentre AO Press Service

The agreement highlights the special economic role played by universities as competency centres in developing entrepreneurial skills and scientific and technological creativity, as well as the key role of leading convention and exhibition hubs in the infrastructure that supports and develops modern businesses.

Both sides expressed a desire to join forces to promote the achievements of Russian science, implement the latest scientific and technological developments, and utilize innovative technologies in key industries. They will encourage the development of entrepreneurship (including among young people), convention and scientific activities, and fostering science, technology, and a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Russia and abroad.

Alexey Vyalkin, General Director of Expocentre AO

Alexey Vyalkin, General Director of Expocentre AO

The signing of the agreement with HSE University is a continuation of our work to promote young scientists and inventors. The exhibition gave us an opportunity to see young people present their products and work to commercialize them—and with success. They sign contracts with manufacturing companies who are ready to take their technologies and put them into production. The agreement outlines concrete, practical steps for us to take, and we plan to expand our cooperation in the future.

Igor Agamirzian, Vice President of HSE University

Igor Agamirzian, Vice President of HSE University

Convention and exhibition activity is a key channel for promoting new products, services and types of business. Every major business has started out on the open market by participating in exhibitions, and it is very important that our students have the opportunity to present their products at Expocentre—one of the leading exhibition spaces in Moscow and in Russia overall. The agreement we signed outlines our intentions for the future, and HSE University’s cooperation with Expocentre AO is very significant to us.

Alexey Vyalkin and Igor Agamirzian visited the HSE University stand, spoke with the students and discussed the future development of their businesses. The stand showcased eight start-ups, including seven from university students and one from a 14-year-old school student from Ivanovo supported by the university.

Mr. Agamirzian noted that while the students all study on different degree programmes at HSE University, they are united in their entrepreneurship. The students all took the minor ‘Start-up from Scratch: Creating Your Own Business’ during their second or third years of study and are now implementing their own business projects with support from their teachers. The student projects mainly involve the production and sale of souvenir and cosmetic products.

‘Promoting an entrepreneurial culture in the student environment is incredibly important to HSE University. Not all of our students will go on to become entrepreneurs, but any modern, cultured individual should know what entrepreneurship is and how it comes about. This applies not only to the open market, but also to entrepreneurship within an organization. HSE University ranked second in the 2021 rating of entrepreneurial universities and business schools, and we’re achieving good indicators in this sphere,’ added Igor Agamirzian.

One of the student start-ups featured at the exhibition was InterFleek, which is described as ‘creating decorative sets of the perfect quality at the perfect price.’ The start-up’s main products are gift sets of home and office interior items. Examples include ‘mood boxes,’ sets of interior decor items that share a similar style and are aimed at creating a sense of comfort. The start-up also offers a ‘collaging’ service for developing interior design projects.

The project was created by Vladislav Bulanov, student of the Bachelor’s Programme in Law, and Polina Larionova, student of the Bachelor’s Programme in Design (Interior Design track).

‘People can get overwhelmed by the variety of options when buying presents, especially when it comes to decor,’ explained Vladislav. ‘Our sets, which contain products from various brands and form a complete package in themselves, help to solve this problem easily. The minor “Start-up from Scratch” gave me my first insight into entrepreneurship, and it turned out to be a good foundation for developing our project.’

Another start-up featured at the exhibition was Bath Basic, a young brand of natural handmade skincare cosmetics with an emphasis on safe and eco-friendly products. The start-up was created by Kristina Urusova, a student of the Bachelor’s Programme in Foreign Languages and Intercultural Communication. Explaining the origins of the business, she said, ‘I got interested in how they make bath bombs from a scrub, but I didn’t like the ingredients—too many chemicals. They are also expensive, around 700–800 roubles. I started learning about the technology used to make them, and I got hooked!’

Kristina started making shower gels, sparkling bath salts, and various scrubs before moving on to the premium segment with soy candles, fragrance diffusers and lip balms. She orders expensive scented oils from abroad, and has to wait up to three months for delivery. She gained new clients after advertising on Instagram, and signed a contract with a beauty salon in March. Kristina took the minor ‘Start-up from Scratch’ this year in order to gain support for her project.

‘There’s no question that the minor helped me a lot,’ she said. ‘My tracker—the person responsible for providing organizational help for the start-up—was Aleksandr Lodyshkin, Associate Professor of the Department of Innovation Management. Thanks to the minor, I made new contacts and got advice from experienced and successful businesspeople. Now I’m at the exhibition in Expocentre. This is a good opportunity to exchange details with potential partners and, in the future, to sign new contracts. With the winter holidays coming up, I will hopefully see increased demand for my products.’

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