Updated: Mar 26, 2022
When it comes to the discussion on how to start a business in Russia, two questions always arise: What are the obstacles, and how much will they cost me? These issues become even more problematic when women are those entering the world of business.
Many experts point out that the biggest obstacle for business women in Russia is a lack of knowledge and experience. Patriarchal systems still dictate the social order in Russia. In small cities, where having many children is a common trend, women are forced to stay at home and are the natural care givers. However, these children grow, go to college, and leave their moms alone with a lump of unfulfilled dreams.
Nonetheless, the resilience, tenacity and perseverance of these women is astounding. Their passion for self-realization pushes them to do more. In modern Russian, mothers have unleashed their forgotten potential and have started becoming beauty specialists, farmers, photographers, travel agents and lawyers. The list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, having time and passion are not enough. There is a basic lack of knowledge of business development, finances, accounting, marketing, and strategy. Without realizing the huge risks of not having a digital client base or tracking expenses, new women entrepreneurs often find themselves lost and frustrated. What is the point of knowing how to grow the biggest tomatoes in the world, or finding a perfect vacation package for a couple that has never traveled before, if I have no idea how to price and sell these tomatoes, or how to communicate in English with hotel management?
The Russian government has taken steps to improve some of these aspects by creating national projects, such as “My Business”, but the steps to qualify and receive assistance are often monumental. These women need more—they need essential training that they can’t access due to lack of high-speed internet. Learning English or taking business classes helps them pursue their dreams. More importantly, they need simple emotional and moral support.
GEN is devoted to ensuring the women in our network get what they need. We believe that women can change the world. Through our programs, women entrepreneurs can qualify for no- and low-interest micro-loans, participate in subsidized business management training courses, meet with business consultants based in the US, and, perhaps most importantly, hear positive words of affirmation and encouragement from their network.