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Startups from Russia attracted almost €25 million in investments

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Six Russian startups have attracted about €25 million in investments, said Ruslan Sarkisov, head of the Voskhod venture fund.

Businessman Vladimir Potanin of Interros, with the support of the russian state, created in 2021 the Voskhod venture fund, and the volume of its investments there will exceed 10 billion rubles over 5 years. Also he commits $1 billion for investments in high technologies.

Investments were attracted by: a company offering solutions for the development of hard-to-reach oil fields – “Lex”; a project on research and development of artificial intelligence for the analysis of medical images (tomography, X-rays and others) – Sciberia. A representative of Sciberia told the Russian business daily RBC that the money raised will be used “to expand the product portfolio and obtain the necessary certification”. Sarkisov notes that most of the companies in the assembled portfolio are already operating businesses with fairly large revenues, while Sciberia is “an earlier project, its solutions are only being piloted in Russian hospitals”. For example, the company has developed two diagnostic modules for lung and brain tomography image analysis, which detect COVID-19, lung cancer, signs of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. The company is also working on products to detect breast cancer;

Project’s Qummy the name is derived from three English words – quick, quality and yummy, “quick, quality and yummy”). The company is positioning itself as “antifast food”: the foodtech startup launches “smart” cafes on the area of 2 square meters without cooks or kitchens, equipping them with ovens and freezers with frozen food (such solutions are offered, in particular, for hotels and gas stations). In March, Qummy CEO Evgeny Pisarev said that last year the startup received about $1.6 million in investment and tried to relocate a team of three or four people to the United States around that time: “Our product is more interesting to developed markets. We replace manual labor, which means we are useful in countries where it costs more. That is why it is more profitable for us to work in the U.S. and some European countries. In a conversation with RBC, Pisarev noted that the company plans to “grow fourfold in Russia over the next year” and “start exporting its products from Russia to Dubai and other countries” with the funds received. 

Voskhod is focused on stakes from 10 to 49% with “active participation in strategic planning, corporate management, and business development,” Sarkisov points out, “In a number of areas in the new market conditions, we believe in the venture builder model and are working on launching projects and consolidating engineering teams on this model.” Among such directions he mentioned the market of new mobility, where “there are a lot of developments but no business.

Now the key areas for Voskhod venture fund investments are robotics (service and industrial), new mobility (drones, fuel cells, etc.), biotechnology and medicine, agricultural technology, “green” technology, microelectronics and optoelectronics, foodtech.

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Finance

Rwanda: Boosting Exports Through Technology, Innovation, and Trade in Services

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Released today, the new Rwanda Economic Update finds that, after a strong economic recovery last year, Rwandan GDP growth is expected to be moderate in 2022 due, in part, to the effects of the war in Ukraine and the persistent risk of the COVID-19 pandemic in major economies.

 According to the 19th edition of the Rwanda Economic Update (REU19) titled Boosting Exports Through Technology, Innovation, and Trade in Services, GDP growth is projected at 6% for 2022, after reaching 11% in 2021. Inflation continues to mount as increases in international commodity prices and the disruption of global supply chains have led to substantial increase in energy, transport, and food prices.

 “The mounting inflation in Rwanda, which comes at the time when employment has not yet recovered to its pre-pandemic level, has the potential to undo hard-won achievements in terms of poverty reduction and human capital development. Government interventions to protect the most vulnerable, building on the country’s social safety nets continue to be critical,“ said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda.

In its special focus on trade, the report gives an insight into Rwanda’s export performance. The REU19 notes that Rwandan firms have increased their participation in international trade (particularly in services) over the last decade, to levels exceeding that of regional and continental peers. Discussing the main drivers of trade performance, the report highlights that securing a certification for an international quality standard, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certificate, is a critical factor in facilitating firms’ participation in international trade. Firms with ISO certification are 36% more likely to be exporters. However, this remains a major challenge for Rwanda as only 3% of Rwandan firms had obtained ISO certification in 2019.

The REU19 also shows a significant correlation between the adoption of e-commerce in Rwanda and the participation in international trade and noted its limited use by Rwandan firms.

The strong link between e-commerce and exporting, and the lack of information regarding foreign markets regularly cited by firms in Rwanda, suggests investment in internet infrastructure can provide isolated enterprises, such as those in rural and underdeveloped urban areas, low-cost connectivity to markets and customers, and increase local firms’ participation in international trade,” said Calvin Djiofack, World Bank Country Economist .

According to the REU19, Rwanda has placed great emphasis on services development to raise employment, income, and export earnings. Yet, the country is facing a skills deficit that, if not addressed, will constrain potential growth for high-skill services exports.

One of the measures the report recommends to boost openness to trade in services, is for Rwanda to address its skills shortage in the short-run by recognizing qualifications of regional professionals, and abolishing work-permit regimes for them.

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YouTube for business: how to be successful and grow your audience

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When should you start using YouTube for your business? Right now! If you see this article, it’s a sign for you that it is your time to enter this social network and get the most out of it! Buy 500 views to begin building the brand presence on YouTube and make a difference in your industry. This platform holds second place for daily visits, people spend lots of time there and of course, they would like to see brand content of high quality. In this article, you will find effective tips for brand promotion on YouTube.

Work On Your Naming

To attract the right audience to your videos you have to name them properly. Make your video titles inviting and promising, yet don’t make them look like clickbait that doesn’t refer to the actual content. Give your viewers a hint on what your video is about and how the information is presented, and that will be your success. Of course, your titles have to be keyword-rich to use all the power of YouTube categorizing algorithms. We recommend keeping your video title around 50 characters for the sake of it being completely visible on the web and mobile interface.

Improve Your Optimisation

YouTube is connected with Google, and it’s not a surprise that videos from this platform appear in Google search results. The task for you here is to make your video a perfect match for certain keywords that users type in when they look for something online. For example, if you sell clothes, you need to create a set of keywords, tags, and other data that will refer to your brand. For the industry mentioned, you would be likely to choose terms that are naming your items and related to fashion in general.

Pro tip: for a better result, you should also include the most relevant keywords verbally in your video. The scenario for it that is filled with industry terms that describe your brand, will for sure increase your rating in search results.

Investigate Audience’s Interests

To gain popularity and promote your product successfully on YouTube you have to find out what users want and expect to see. Take a good look at the prominent industry influencers on YouTube and examine user behavior. Pay close attention to comments and reaction balance. With this simple research, you will understand where you must start, but for better performance, you must monitor your progress constantly, to make quality improvements. YouTube has analytical tools that are built into its basic functionality, however, using some additional tools will be a good idea if you want to dive deeper into your research.

Nurture A Community

The factor that makes social media so extremely addictive for users (and effective for businesses) is the possibility to socialize. What a surprise, huh? And being social is a way to win the attention of many customers. Responding and liking the comments is basic, and you must do more for an astonishing result. Use all forms of interacting with users and motivate them to engage with your content actively, so the algorithms will rate your content higher. Engagement and user activity are vital for growth, so you should concentrate your efforts on improving them if you want faster and more stable growth on YouTube. Establishing strong and loyal relations with your audience is a key to better visibility of your brand.

Make Custom Thumbnails

This small picture is the first visual hook to catch your potential viewers and customers on. You will be surprised to find out how effective custom thumbnails can be. Never use the default option for thumbnails – it simply takes a random screenshot from the video, and this is in no way engaging. Luckily you can upload your thumbnails and impress your potential viewers from the start. Also, making custom thumbnails shows your professionalism and devotion to the content quality.

  • Don’t make too detailed and complicated designs
  • Aim for fewer details that are distinctly visible minding the real size of YouTube thumbnails
  • Add a short text, which must be keyword-rich
  • Provide a similar recognizable design for all your pictures.

Authentic Visuals

The design of your channel and your videos must correspond to the branding that you have. All visual features that you can upload on YouTube have to make your brand easy to remember and recognize later. So, develop a set of details that will mark your content and underline your brand. Logo and basic colors, and minimalism in general work the best, because this way the content is not overloaded with distractions. However, you should add a pinch of your personal charm to it, especially if your brand is strongly biased toward your personality. Another good option is to mark your industry. For example, if you knit or crochet, adding thematic illustrations can be complementary to your blog, and the same can be applied to any other industry.

Remember Your Older Content

With time, video topics can overlap, so it can be wise to give users the opportunity to discover more details about the niche. The easiest way to improve your statistics on YouTube is to offer people to check it out. Cross-promote your older content with the end screen, or link in your video description, and also give viewers a verbal reminder about other vids for a similar topic. This works well if you don’t have enough content to unite in a playlist, or if you have a lot of cross-related videos. Avoid promoting content that is not relevant anymore – in the short term it will give you an increase in your view statistics, but in the long term, it will cause irritation and loss of trust to you.

Run A Contest

Materialistic motivation is a bald way to drive attention to your brand. People like free stuff and presents, and they also like participation in various activities like contests and giveaways. Give them what they want! Set simple rules that don’t require too many actions. For example, you can make a contest where users can vote for the funniest comment or so… Basically anything that comes to your head! Offer a decent prize and with a statistical increase, you will also raise the loyalty of your audience.

Use Calls To Action

A call to action, or CTA, is a simple yet effective way to increase engagement on your profile. Yes, sometimes you have to ask people to do things, especially at the beginning of your career. People often forget to like or comment on the video even if they intended to do that. So, dropping a small reminder is totally a thing. Use calls to action somewhere around the first 5 minutes of your video. The only type of call to action that can be effective at the end of the video is offering more content to check out.

Conclusion

Promotion of a brand on YouTube requires time and devotion. But being patient and working tirelessly on your content quality, offering real value and entertainment to the audience will pay off with their attention and popularity. Experiment with your strategy and watch your statistics constantly and closely – the recipe of perfect content making will come to you soon.

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Additional World Bank Financing to Strengthen Social Programs in Buenos Aires Province

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The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$ 50 million loan to support social safety net programs in Buenos Aires Province. These include the electricity social tariff and food assistance programs, which reach over 1.7 million people.

“The approval of this new program is crucial for strengthening support to contain vulnerable sectors in Buenos Aires Province. The cycle of recession, pandemic and war has greatly impacted the province and requires a variety of support measures,” said Sergio Massa, Argentina’s economy minister.

“Strengthening food security and access to electricity helps reduce the vulnerability of the poorest households. This new project is part of the World Bank’s comprehensive assistance to Argentina, which, with financing of US$ 2 billion, contributes to government efforts to reduce the impact of the crisis,” said Jordan Schwartz, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The project will finance the Más Vida food program, created during the Covid-19 pandemic, which provides direct cash transfers through debit cards to vulnerable populations and those with pre-existing health conditions. Currently, this program reaches 114,000 people.

Additionally, this financing will mitigate the impact of the measure to reduce energy subsidies nationwide on 1.6 million vulnerable users and 189,000 households in informal settlements connected through community meters. The program will also support the province in improving the management of the electricity social tariff scheme.

The additional financing for the Social Safety Nets for Vulnerable Populations in the Province of Buenos Aires is a variable spread loan, with a maturity period of 17 years and a five-year grace period.

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