Skolkovo’s Technopark has signed an agreement with Cherkizovo Group, a major Russian meat producer, to establish an acceleration centre for Skolkovo resident startups working in the areas of biotech in agriculture and industry.
Renat Batyrov, left, and Sergei Shapovalov, director of Cherkizovo's research centre, shake hands after signing the agreement at the Skolkovo innovation centre on Friday. Photo: Sk.ru.
Under the agreement, Cherkizovo will select at least 10 startups for its acceleration centre, and will rent 120 square metres in the Technopark from next month where it will provide a co-working space and testing area for those startups, along with mentoring sessions.
“We’re a big company, the biggest meat producer in Russia. We have a lot of land resources, and we’ve had a lot of commercial success,” Sergey Polyakov, CEO of Cherkizovo's poultry division, told Sk.ru after the signing of the agreement.
“But we understand that the old economy is behind us, and that now there is a new economy that is closely tied to new ideas, IT, biotech and so on. Now we’re working on those areas.”
Russia is a country with a lot of talented scientists working in biotech and related areas, noted Polyakov.
Sergey Polyakov, CEO of Cherkizovo's poultry division. Photo: Sk.ru.
“But unfortunately, there is currently no channel for that talent to test its ideas against large, industrial demand that can pay for it. And Cherkizovo is a conduit for that demand,” he said.
“We want to be pioneers and leaders in the new standards and the new economy, and we can help Skolkovo startups implement their ideas,” said Polyakov, adding that Cherkizovo was interested in innovations in a wide range of areas, from precision agriculture and land treatment to ecology and food safety.
After signing the agreement on Friday, Cherkizovo representatives sat down to watch presentations of more than 30 biotech startups, from which they will select at least 10.
Evgeny Tkachenko, director of key partnerships within the biomed cluster, said the acceleration centre focusing on biotech in agriculture was the only one of its kind in Russia, and that its opening was particularly timely given that Russian agriculture is growing rapidly due to import bans on many food items from countries that sanctioned Russia over the Ukraine conflict.
“Russian agriculture is seeing significant growth right now, which is prompting the need for hi-tech solutions, which are currently mainly imported,” said Tkachenko. The partnership with Cherkizovo will be another boost to the development of domestic technologies.
Several other major companies have expressed interest in opening similar centres at Skolkovo devoted to various areas of technology, Tkachenko said.
Renat Batyrov, director of the Technopark, welcomed the agreement as the first partnership established with the Technopark.
Skolkovo’s Technopark, one of the biggest in Europe, is set to provide Skolkovo’s resident startups with a complete range of services, from lab and office space to centres offering services related to taxes, equipment import and patent registration.