The Internet Initiatives Development Fund is a non-commercial organisation created to assist young IT experts and entrepreneurs and to create favourable conditions for the implementation of high-technology online start-up projects.
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Speech at meeting with online entrepreneurs
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
This is now our third meeting. We came up with the idea in 2013 of establishing a fund to support internet initiatives. This is understandable when you think that this sector already has a huge turnover and has become very visible in our country’s business environment. Internet-related business now accounts for around 10 percent of our GDP, which is a solid figure. As you know better than I, in terms of the number of people who use internet services, Russia is now in first place in Europe, with 60 million people using internet services in one form or another every day. Business in this sector is growing faster all the time.
I am pleased to see that this initiative, which emerged in 2013, and which we started carrying out in 2014, was not stillborn but, on the contrary, is growing very rapidly. 150 projects and companies have already gone through the Fund, and by some estimates, it is the most active and successful fund in Europe among those engaged in seed-funding activity. This shows that those organising this work are doing so at a good level. We need to thank you for this.
I do not want to waste time on superfluous words, so let’s start looking at the current situation and at what we need to do to ensure that Fund continues to develop, what kind of additional help and support you need. As far as I know, the Fund currently has control in one form or another of businesses worth a total of 6 billion rubles. This is a sizeable figure.
Vladimir Putin: I am really quite pleased with the idea to create the Internet Initiatives Development Fund. The idea came about because of the significance the Internet will have in our society, as well as the opportunities it will create. I am also very glad we have found people who were able to truly take this into their hands, organise and create a live instrument for supporting everyone who takes pleasure in working in this field.
Even a very brief overview of what you are doing speaks to the fact that in essence, there are no limitations in how it can be applied; these limitations simply do not exist. And I certainly agree with those of you who stated that soon, the impact of these technologies – if, of course, we use them wisely – will be simply colossal. It will certainly be a colossal development resource for us and for our nation, first and foremost, because thankfully, we have the essential foundations.
We criticise a great deal in the field of education, but nevertheless, we have a very strong essential foundation of education in Russia and our scientific schools have very good traditions. So everything you are doing should certainly be based on this essential foundation of our achievements in previous years. And we must move forward based on those opportunities, which we certainly have at our disposal.
I want to thank you and wish you all success; I also want to assure you that we will continue working to support not just the projects that were presented here today, but also all others that will come up within the framework of our Fund, and outside of whatever frameworks; we will simply support the industry.
Thank you very much.