Digital Ministry proposed allocating 17.2 bln rubles to support IT companies

Digital Ministry proposed allocating 17.2 bln rubles to support IT companies

The money will be allocated in the form of grants by the Bortnik Fund, Skolkovo and the Russian Information Technology Development Foundation (RITDF), according to three draft government resolutions, “Interfax” reports.

The Bortnik Fund will be transferred 4.2 bln rubles to support the projects of small companies working in the field of digital solutions. This will allow to introduce new support measures that aim to “accelerate import substitution and reduce risks of negative impact of the restrictive measures, including the support of open-source libraries developers as a means of stimulating the development of the Russian open source under conditions of limited access to foreign development and code repository hosts,” as stated in the document. It is also planned to stimulate the demand for Russian digital solutions through grants for the implementation of Russian software in small enterprises.

The Skolkovo Foundation will receive an additional 1.2 bln rubles to “counter the effects of the restrictive measures against the Russian Federation taken by foreign states.” Amid sanctions, grantees complain about the issues related to co-financing, provision of equipment for pilot projects, etc. This, in turn, poses serious risks to the achievement of pilot projects’ goals and creates conditions for the outflow of qualified personnel.

Among the challenges developers have faced are cash gaps, difficulties in leveraging financial resource, supply chains disruption, changes to pilot projects staffing and the increase in the general price level of non-financial assets. To address these issues, the Digital Ministry proposed to increase the projects’ maximum co-financing rate from 50 % to 80 % from the government and to increase the maximum grant amount from 120 mln rubles today, to 300 mln rubles.

The RITDF, whose programs are intended to be modified the same way, will be provided 10.8 bln rubles. The level of state involvement is expected to be increased to 80 %, and the grant amount, to 500 mln rubles.

That being the case, the grant amount for “the most significant projects on the development of scalable national solutions in the IT field” can reach the ceiling of 6 bln rubles. This grant amount will be subject to approval by the Digital Ministry’s operational headquarters for monitoring the state of Russian IT companies and ensuring their steady performance amid anti-Russian sanctions.

Since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, it has been revealed that nearly 5000 IT professionals can leave Russia. Employees of IT companies are creating group chats in Telegram to share their emigration stories and discuss relocation issues. Some of Russian and foreign organizations are conducting independent activities to take teams of 50 to 100 developers out of the country, according to a top manager of a Russian IT company.

The business association “Business Russia” asked the government to expand the circle of IT companies eligible for state support. Today, unless 90 % of their revenue come from licensed software sales, enterprises cannot get benefits. A high proportion of enterprises therefore do not meet the existing conditions for state support.