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Social business in Russia

14 July 2011

The ways of making a social sphere attractive for business were discussed at the round table discussion organized by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives within the context of a more general discussion on the subject of “Promotion of social initiatives”. Moderator of the discussion was the Chairperson of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on social issues and demographic policy Elena Nikolaeva.

“Traditionally for the Russian business the social sphere was rather associated with a charity and debt carrying projects. The task of the recently established Agency for Strategic Initiatives is to make this sector attractive for investment. In future this must have a positive effect on the quality of the service sector in general”, - mentioned Elena Nikolaeva.

The participants of the discussion, the representatives of SME sector from various regions of Russia identified several problems in relation to the fulfillment of this task. According to most of the speakers in Russia today there is no competition between the public and private structures in the social sphere, administrative barriers interfere with the efficient operation, and most important – the legal base does not facilitate business development in the social sphere.

In the course of the brain storm discussion the participants have formulated a number of proposals for improving of the existing situation.

Specifically, it was proposed to create a “public rating”: i.e. any projects undertaken by business in the service sector must be submitted to the consumers’ review. The best practices may be taken as the basis and widely replicated.

There was also an offer to set up specialized social networks where people interested in setting up businesses in the social sphere would be able to communicate and share their experiences.

In addition there was a proposal to develop a dedicated system of loans for financing social projects.

The initiatives of the participants of the discussion have been presented to the Prime Minister of the RF Vladimir Putin during the video conference.

“The development of the social sphere is important for every member of society. Social policy is the basis for moral standards, it is the measure of efficiency of everything we do. A person must count on the support of the state, and every solder must concentrate on defending his country knowing that no matter what may happen to him, the state will take care of his family and children”, - said Vladimir Putin.

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