GOVERNMENT REVIEWS APPROACH TO SUPPORT FOR INNOVATION

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ST. PETERSBURG, October 7 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government is reviewing its approaches to supporting innovative activities in Russia, Russian Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko told journalists.

"A new federal targeted program has been drafted and one of its provisions is the support for the development of technological businesses in their initial stages," Mr. Fursenko said at the 5th Russian Venture Fair, which opened in St. Petersburg Thursday. "This implies the most important innovation projects."

According to him, the program develops technologies that can be later commercialized. "At the same time," he said, "it envisages the formation of infrastructure for commercialization."

He said the necessary foundation for venture investment already existed in Russia.

In four years, since the first venture fair in Russia, the level of companies and the quality of the proposed projects have considerably increased, Mr. Fursenko noted. "Some companies have already acquired private investments and now they are ready for the second phase," he said. "Their demands are higher and their base is more impressive."

He said companies with a considerable turnover were attending the fair this year. "People are ready for ventures and direct investments," he said. "It speaks to a giant psychological leap."

Russian capital must participate more actively in venture investments, Russian Presidential Plenipotentiary in the Northwest Federal district Ilya Klebanov told journalists.

"It is an absolutely new deal for Russia," Mr. Klebanov said. "The trouble is that Russian capital still does not realize that the future is with venture investments. The whole world realized this, while our country trudges toward this process."

According to the plenipotentiary, the main objective of the fair was to show deep intellectual and scientific potential which can be turned into business projects.

About 70 high-tech companies from 25 regions in Russia with projects worth $200 million are participating in the fair, he said.

The fair closes on October 8.

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