What an ambitious event! The Russian government with prime minister Dmitriy Medvedev had really put a lot of effort into making the Open Innovation Forum in Moscow a truly prestigious one with guests such as, the prime minister himself, entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson, various ministers of both Russia and other countries, company leaders as the CEO of Ericsson Hans Vestberg and leading people in the fields of science and innovation. I was selected to take part as one out of 100 young innovators, 50 Russian and 50 international. I have rarely met so many interesting people at one place so I really tried to maximize the time spent in communication with people. Four days is a short time, but I managed to get a lot out of it, spending quality time and exchanging ideas with innovators and entrepreneurs from both Russia and abroad. I took the chance to walk around the exhibition area to speak with Russian high tech companies as well as business incubators and technology innovation centers from all over Russia. I just counted my collection of business cards to some 50 pieces, from which at least 20 goes into the category of “very interesting to follow up on” people. At least a couple of those are potential customers for Beetroot and many are interesting from a long term perspective. So, work still to do there… Richard Branson gave a good advice during his Q&A session, whenever you meet people who you find interesting, let them know that by dropping them just a line or two over email when you come home, and you can come back to the same persons even a few years later in some cases.
My speech? Yes I had it, I as one of the lucky few from the youth forum section to get to present my project in front of innovators and entrepreneurs. The 7 min I was supposed to speak was shortened to 5 because of some time schedule issues. I did my best though, and made a passionate presentation about my first meeting with Russia, the fascination that kept me learning and discovering more in the following 3 years, Beetroot resources business model and vision as well as a few words about exchange in innovation focusing on Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship. I felt that the whole thing was a bit squeezed because of the time limit, but at least I got good response and feedback from people afterwards.