On 19th November, Major Events International in association with the Russian Trade Delegation organised a seminar on opportunities in the Russian regions and major events. The event was held at the offices of the Trade Delegation in Highgate and was attended by 50 people.

Head of the Russian Trade Delegation Dmitry Lebedev opened the event welcoming everyone and emphasising the close trade relationship between Russia and the UK, as demonstrated by last week’s UK-Russia Intergovernmental Steering Committee meeting. Dmitry underlined the need for the best of UK expertise in Russia in the areas of training, ticketing and stadium construction in the run up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He firmly believes Russia can benefit greatly from the British Olympic legacy in its major event preparations.

We were joined by MEI Chief Executive Dennis Mills in the form of a video where he announced the details of a competition MEI are holding in association with the Russian Trade Delegation. With thanks to Ukraine International Airlines, two companies will win a VIP-hosted visit to Russia including flights and transfers. The visit will include meetings with key officials in the Russian regions and is a fantastic opportunity for companies who are interested in scoping out the Russian market.

The next speaker was Jon Coxeter-Smith of Sagacity who shared his knowledge on the Russian major event sector. He highlighted there will be over 4 million spectators attending major events in Russia and that this continual programme of events will serve to boost economic growth in Russia. Jon revealed that Russia had risen to 2nd place in Sportcal’s Global Sports Nations Index,  an index that reflects the success of nations in attracting and hosting major sports events. A further indicator of the effectiveness of the promotion of Brand Russia could be seen in the latest edition of the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, particularly in the Immigration/Investment Index, which showed Russia has had the second greatest increase in the rating by this measure of all 50 countries included.

Following Jon’s presentation were Barry Martin and Margaret Rowse of The Russia House. Barry gave an overview of Russia’s 11 host cities, their locations and infrastructural needs whilst stressing the highly commercial nature of major events in modern times. Margaret provided some practical advice to companies on visa requirements, flight routes into Russia and accommodation.

Adrian McMahon of Halo Financial then said a few words on the currency exchange company. Halo promise to provide an audit of your currency exchange rates to ensure they can offer you the best deal.

We were lucky to hear two case studies from companies already active in Russia; Arena Group and Sandler Seating. Joe O’Neill spoke on behalf of Arena Group, the company who provided seating to the London 2012 Beach Volleyball pitch at iconic Horse Guard’s Parade. Joe cited Arena’s experience at London 2012 as their “global calling card” leading to them winning contracts in both Russia and Brazil. Joe underlined key barriers of entry into Russia as customs, language, resources and legal. His key advice to companies was to find a suitable partner and avoid the “smash and grab” approach as legacy is vital for success in a market such as Russia.

Alexis Girard representing Sandler Seating delivered the second case study on the company’s experience in Russia. Alexis was keen to stress the importance of good distributor relationships in the Russian market. He pointed out that language is still a barrier in Russia especially when communicating with SMEs - something as simple as translating your company brochure can make a big difference. He also highlighted Russia’s proximity to China and trans-border trade being a big plus point for companies.

The final presentation came from Gaby Henze of Russia Consulting who introduced her company the services they offer to businesses setting up in Russia.

Piers Lawson, MEI’s Client Relationship Director closed the event with an overview of MEI’s services and a look at 2014 events and partner expos including Counter-Terror Expo, Soccerex, Geneva 2014 and SEAT.

There was a raffle prize draw at the end of the event with Artur Manasaryan of Red Square International winning a box at USA v Russia rugby match, provided by Saracens. Gaby Henze of Russia Consulting was the lucky winner of a dinner for two generously offered by Halo Financial.

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Our next event will be a Security & Resilience Group meeting on 26th February 2014. Please contact Piers Lawson to register your interest in attending or sponsoring: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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