An expert: entrepreneurs are the drivers of science

Pekka Viljakainen, Senior Advisor to the president of the Skolkovo Foundation, came to Tomsk as part of Open Innovation Startup Tour, a programme aimed at identifying and supporting innovative projects and teams.

Pekka Viljakainen is a founder of such Skolkovo projects as Startup Tour and Startup Village. He is one of the most successful men in Europe, known as an investor, business angel, and advisor to several high-tech companies.

Meeting with the TSU’s rector Eduard Galazhinsky, he discussed possible forms of partnership between the University and the Skolkovo Foundation and shared his experience of effective innovation development. The expert highlighted the leading role of universities in support of small and medium-sized businesses, noting that the state has not always paid enough attention to this.

- Unfortunately, often inside the university, professors and teachers do not share this mission. They think that startups are contrary to the fundamental objective of the University to produce diplomas and engage in research. But there are numerous examples in the world of businesspeople and entrepreneurs being the drivers of science, because for young people it makes sense to do science not only in the cause of science but in order for something to come of it, including something good for the economy, - added Pekka Viljakainen.

According to the expert, the impact of universities on the urban environment in Tomsk seems particularly large, and this provides additional opportunities for business development.

- Tomsk is really a university town. And it's important, I think, to increase the number of companies, startups, that are produced from these universities, in order to demonstrate the connection between science and business - said Pekka Viljakainen.