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8 tips for budding entrepreneurs

shutterstock_361396376Last week Saint Petersburg hosted its International Economic Forum (SPIEF) with its usual focus on SOEs, mega-deals and bilateral cooperation opportunities. However, the last day of the Forum happened to fall on the Russian National Entrepreneurs Day. Together with The Graduate School of Management of Saint Petersburg State University I was invited to moderate a brainstorming session with the some rather promising Generation Z entrepreneurs to help them develop a more realistic sense of the venture capital and private equity industry and what it offers. During the session, 12 participants had to collaborate to try to find answers to questions that ranged from the challenges of starting up a business, attracting investments, and building a team for success, while reconciling personal friendships and workplace relations. In the end, we came up with a sort of cheat-sheet to help Gen Z entrepreneurs overcome some of the common challenges associated with launching a new business. Read more

PE in Fashion and Demand Amongst The Top Sovereigns

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

   Plato, The Republic


It has always been a matter of personal choice how to kick off on the 1st (or maybe 2nd) of January after all the indulgences of the festive season: some go out for a brisk 20K Nordic ski run to build on their New Year’s resolution and some desperately search for aspirin and Alka-Seltzer to wrestle away a nudging hangover. Always has been – always will be. However, I find that the same is true for the financial industry. Often the early moves and statements by the industry’s heavyweights significantly define what to expect from the next 12 months.

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A Russian alternative to Microsoft

Today’s great powers are rightly concerned that over 80 per cent of the world’s desktop computers run on an operating system primarily developed in one country, the US. Attempts by Europeans, Indians and the Chinese to develop their own operating systems (OS) are well recorded and have been less than successful to date. Leaving aside the point of copyright and royalties, it is interesting to note another attempt to break the American hold on the OS market, this time by the Russians. Read more

Bold Decisions and Fresh Opportunities: The future of UK-Russia tourism relations, post-Brexit


The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” 

– Marcel Proust 

As Britain begins to plan for a post-Brexit future, intense discussions about the economic implications of our looming divorce from the European Union (EU) have not subsided. My own interest in this topic naturally relates to post-Brexit economic relations between the UK and Russia, in all their guises. My previous post addressed some of the implications for business and trade moving forward. In this post, I want to focus specifically on the future prospects for tourism between the two countries, both in terms of the exchange of visitors and sector investment more broadly. Read more

Bringing Russia in from the Cold: Investment & Trade between Russia and the UK post-Brexit

Russia was widely hailed as one of the beneficiaries of the recent Brexit vote, but in reality, their position is much more nuanced, and the situation poses several advantages and disadvantages for the Russian economy. Read more

Goldilocks and British immigration policy post-Brexit

In the years I have been in the UK, I have observed the attitudes that many Britons have with regards to immigration. They want some, but not too much. They like aspects of it, but not others. They enjoy the investment it can bring, but not the costs it can bear. They have the quintessential Goldilocks attitude – not too hot, not too cold, not too firm, not too soft. Read more

More ways to live whilst you are young


Previously I wrote a post in which I imagined offering advice to my 22-year-old self. To my surprise, but fittingly given the post’s observation that time flies, I now realise that this was over two years ago!

I feel that it is time for an update, especially now that summer has come and gone and we are in the closing days of October, a month that – in the UK at least – traditionally marks the beginning of the new academic year, when university campuses are bustling with new students, ready to embark upon the next exciting chapter of their lives.

My three suggestions from 2014 still stand. Indeed, if anything, global developments since I wrote the earlier piece have reinforced the importance to today’s young adults of a career-oriented education, diverse language skills and a willingness to try one’s hand at anything. Global shifts, including the rise of China and the continuing sense of economic and political crisis in Europe and the US (now arguably worse than it was even two years ago), mean that flexibility, an inquisitive mind and an insatiable appetite for learning remain the paramount qualities of the day. Read more