“Open University:” BrExit, Startups and Smart Paperwork

"Startups are dead, long live Entrepreneurship!"

Konstantin Karchmarsky, the first speaker at “Open University,” transformed the popular French motto to describe the current status of startup culture. According to the expert, startups are not relevant today. Entrepreneurship is a new trend, which becomes popular again.

Konstantin Karchmarsky

“What is the difference between a startup and entrepreneurship? All new businesses formerly were called startups. Then this term was referred to IT sphere. However the main feature of startups is their scalability. For example, McDonald’s is a startup. It was launched like a typical business project. It worked as a food point selling tasty meat with buns and piece of salad. Then it turned out that one can make it more tasty, improve management system and turn the single restaurant into a branch during the short period of time…” said Mr. Karchmarsky, advisor to Project Management and Innovation Department of ITMO University.

The speaker mentioned reasons why startups are not startups in full sense of this word. First of all home-made projects that were implemented into the global market thanks to bright ideas of their developers, are the things of the past. Currently startups depend on business corporations. All new projects are regulated and supported by venture funds, business angels and grant competitions. Mr. Karchmarsky noted that this top-down approach limits the whole business area. Furthermore most of entrepreneurs who make decisions cannot predict future innovation trends.

The expert also gave an example of Magic Leap, a new gadget for virtual reality visualization. According to its’ developers, this idea has no equals. The device has not yet presented but investors spent 1.4 billion dollars for this project. Currently it is typically to invest to a prototype of device or technology, which doesn’t exists because a company managed to “reserve” certain market niche. Speaking of Magic Leap, even if some small company presents the same device Magic Leap will buy their idea using the support offered by large corporations.


Blockchain instead of mangers, lawyers and banks

What if one would automate all paperwork processes? If yes this area will not need banks, lawyers and managers who serve as agents as well as assist and control contract negotiations. It sounds improbable but the smart assistant can also guarantee transparent business activities.

“It may provoke the next industrial revolution,” said Alexander Horst Norta, associate professor at Tallinn University of Technology, who presented smart technology called “Blockchain.” The distributed database contains information about all transactions and bargains. All the information is open for users involved in a business process. Moreover the system is safe because all data segments are connected with each other and if a hacker tries to capture it the system blocks certain transaction and rejects the whole operation. It will be also impossible for partners to deceive each other. The expert also noted that the technology can be applied to other fields such as passport issuing, cryptocurrency operations and government services.

Alexander Horst Norta

However new opportunities come with new responsibilities. “It is a kind of digital anarchy…New economy will be managed by computer algorithms. It means that society should change its rules to adopt new system. I suppose that it will take a lot of time,” summed up the expert.


How BrExit affects world economy?

The United Kingdom has not declared its’ leaving the EU officially. However this intention has already affected the global market. According to Alexei Belyanin, head of Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioral Economics, rate of global economic growth decreased because of BrExit. Moreover apart from sterling weakness it is expected that living standards of British will take a turn for a worse.

Alexei Belyanin

Alexei Belyanin commented on reasons why British voted for leaving. First of all only those who live in rural areas wanted to leave the EU, dwellers of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and other large cities were against. British cities serve as “financial centers,” theirs stock exchanges deal with three-quarters of the overall global capital.

“Instead of these benefits citizens who live in countryside have the following problems related to their activities. For example, a farmer who produces cheese during all his life has to limit the volume of output because the same cheese is imported from Portugal or Latvia,” said the expert.

There are also some economic reasons. For instance, in 2015 the UK invested to EU projects 13 billion pound sterling but only 4.5 billion got back. Since 2002 the United Kingdom has increased import size and limited export. It means that after losing world’s economic center European Union will be frustrated but then will find balance very soon.


Intellectual property: How to save?

Nina Yanykina, Head of Project Management and Innovation Department, started her speech with statistics. According to the World Bank, about 80% of all benefits are intangible. To survive companies have to limit the access to these benefits. It is possible thanks to intellectual property regulations. Ms. Yanykina in her speech defined such important concepts as invention patent, data privacy, authors’ rights and others as well as talked about what ideas can be considered as inventions.

It is not enough to save ideas from plagiarism and implement goods into the market. One also has to attract clients. IT projects face this challenge more often than others because it is very hard to make users sure that new solutions are effective and relevant. Lidia Perovskaya, tutor at Computer Technology Chair, presented the most effective ways of how to promote IT brands.

How do we make our decisions? We always use advices and choose those solutions that our friends recommend us. It means that one of the most effective promotion tools is tips by people we rely on.

“Sometimes we cannot choose IT tools because they have been already “installed” in devices. For example, Android devices “offer” Google Chrome by default. This is an effective way of distribution! By cooperating with other companies you attract lots of users,” commented on Lidia Perovskaya. 

Interactive Area at

Open University sessions take place in St. Petersburg several times a year. It is a communicative platform where lecturers in various fields share their opinions and answer the questions of guests. Learn more on the official web site of the project.