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BRICS Business Council and BRICS Women’s Business Alliance Hold Press Conference

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19 February 2024
Russia
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On February 15, 2024, a press conference of the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance was held at the Rossiyskaya Gazeta media center. The event was attended by Sergey Ryabkov, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sherpa of the Russian Federation in BRICS; by Sergei Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Russian Chapter of the BRICS Business Council; by Anna Nesterova, Chair of the Russian Chapter of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance, founder of the watchmaking manufactory “Palekh Watch”; by Ludmila Scherbakova, President of Bright Way Group, Head of BRICS Women’s Business Alliance Working Group on Healthcare, by Elena Chashchina, Co-owner and Managing Partner of EPOTOS Group of Companies, Head of BRICS Women’s Business Alliance Working Group on Creative Industries and Tourism; by Galina Volkova, CEO of Orthomoda, Head of BRICS Women’s Business Alliance Working Group on Inclusive Economy. 

Opening the press conference, Sergey Ryabkov stated: “The harmonious integration of the newcomers into the whole mechanics of the BRICS strategic partnership is going to be one of the main goals for this year. These newcomers are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Ethiopia and Iran”. He also highlighted the important role of interaction of business circles in the development of BRICS: “Of course, I cannot but speak about the important, key in many respects role played by the interaction of business circles and business associations in our cooperation”. The Deputy Minister gave credit to the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance and the BRICS Business Council and assured them of the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. 

Special attention during the press conference was given to the role of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance. Anna Nesterova spoke about the key goals set by the Alliance and the events planned within the Alliance for the year of Russia’s BRICS Chairship. Anna Nesterova noted: “One of the main goals of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance is not only to increase the share of women entrepreneurs in the BRICS countries from 23% to 50%, but also to make sure that everyone knows and talks about these women. And, in this way, to create new opportunities for women who just want to start an entrepreneurial activity”. According to her, the Alliance sees two ways to accomplish this task. The first is to launch multilateral projects through real business cooperation. The second is to organize joint events where these projects can be publicized. 

A special role in this process will be given to the integration of new participants into the Alliance’s work. During the Russian Chairship, the Alliance plans to launch its flagship project, the Common BRICS WBA Digital Platform, which will unite women from ten BRICS countries and become a single information resource for women entrepreneurs in the BRICS countries. 

The Alliance’s key projects scheduled to be launched in 2024 include the publication of the White Paper on Care Economy in the BRICS countries, the development of proposals and recommendations on the development of tourism and transport safety, the launch of BRICS Mobility Centers, the opening of BRICS ID Club, the development of the BRICS Business Etiquette Guidebook and video training courses for entrepreneurs, the launch of the Expert Dialogue on the ESG-agenda, the opening of the School of Financial Literacy for Women in the BRICS countries, and others. 

In the year of Russia’s BRICS Chairship, the Alliance plans to organize about 20 events. One of the key events will be the BRICS Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum and the BRICS Best Women’s Startups Contest. The BRICS Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum will be held from June 2 to 4, 2024 in Moscow. As part of the Forum’s business program, the representatives of the national chapters of the Alliance, business and government circles, and the expert community of the BRICS countries will discuss current applied issues of economic development, new opportunities and challenges in the context of the BRICS expansion. 

The Forum will mark the official launch of the Common BRICS WBA Digital Platform and the start of the BRICS Women’s Startups Contest, that is aimed to support startups by BRICS women entrepreneurs with the potential for scaling up in the BRICS countries. Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, expressed particular support for the Contest. 

In addition, the Alliance will hold its annual session at SPIEF. Events outside Russia are also planned. In 2024, the Women’s Business Alliance will visit Brazil to support the third women-entrepreneurs forum “WeForum”, as well as participate in the BRICS Women’s Leadership Forum in China. The final events of the Alliance, including the final working group meetings and the BRICS WBA Closed Session will be held in Moscow in October this year. 

Sergei Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, stressed the importance of forming the national chapters of the BRICS Business Council in the new member countries of the group: “A respectable composition not only in our country, but also in all other countries is the level of recognition of this area of activity on the part of the leaders of the states. Now it is very important for us to decide on the composition of the national chapters in these five cities, so that there appear the national chapters of the Business Council with the leaders in these countries”. He also drew attention to the fact that the processes of building new business ties with the BRICS member countries have already gained momentum and are in a high level of implementation: “We hope that all the planned activities have already taken place, and today the main task is to get answers to our questions from our new colleagues,” summarized the President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Elena Chashchina, Managing Partner and co-owner of EPOTOS Group of Companies, Head of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance Working Group on Creative Industries and Tourism, spoke about technological exchange among BRICS countries: “We all have missing elements of the chain. In particular, in our country it is technology, which we can share with other countries and grow much faster and more powerful. That is why we are now actively engaged in negotiations with partners from the BRICS countries, including the new member-countries, in particular, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Ethiopia. This gives us the opportunity to grow multifold. Because we can close each others’ missing value chains”. 

The participants of the press conference discussed international cooperation in the field of healthcare and the role of women’s initiatives in this process. Today in the pharmaceutical industry about 60% of employees are women, and in medicine this figure reaches 80%. 

“We are inspired by the idea of the BRICS Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum. It gives us room for further development. I think we could lead such a theme and propose that BRICS work towards uniting our efforts in raising the level of healthcare first of all. This includes a huge range of tasks. To create a mechanism to promote new medicines and new ways of treatment. We could do it more effectively by joining our efforts, creating clinical research centers” – told the press conference participants Ludmila Scherbakova, President of Bright Way Group, Head of BRICS Women’s Business Alliance Working Group on Healthcare. 

“Inclusive economy is a new direction, which implies meeting all the needs of our society for livelihood opportunities. It is a challenging topic that brings together all our social needs. And it is quite difficult for us to cover all areas of the inclusive economy. But our working group has identified several areas: we are working on publishing a White Paper that will bring together best practices in the care economy. All human needs must be seen. Now the geography is expanding, and we want the new BRICS member countries to identify their areas of work,” says about the role of the Alliance’s socially important projects Galina Volkova, CEO of Orthomoda, Head of BRICS Women’s Business Alliance Working Group on Inclusive Economy

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