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Viktor Prokopenya

Debureaucratization in IT offers new opportunities for Belarus' startups

Opinions 26.12.2017 | 14:26
Viktor Prokopenya Viktor Prokopenya IT businessman, founder of the investment company VP Capital

The removal of bureaucratic obstacles in Belarus' IT sector opens up new opportunities for small companies, startups, and gifted young people in the first place, Viktor Prokopenya, a big IT businessman, said in an interview with the SB. Belarus Segodnya newspaper when commenting on the digital economy development ordinance.

“The ordinance removes many bureaucratic obstacles for the Hi-Tech Park resident companies, which hindered full-fledged development of product models in IT. For instance, a contract with a non-resident company required both sides to sign and prepare the documents. Today, progressive people do it in another way. Deals are sealed through e-mail exchange,” Viktor Prokopenya stated. “Big companies would not regard it as a big obstacle as they could always hire more accountants and lawyers to prepare the documents or restructure the business. IT debureaucratization provides small companies, startups, and young people with an opportunity to design and develop product models. It is important for them to focus on their products,” the businessman underlined.

There are five various types of specialists per one programmer in the product business model supported by the ordinance: business analysts, designers, marketing specialists, translators, and others. This means that IT generates additional non-IT jobs.

The document is meant to enable the conditions to encourage international IT companies to tap into Belarus, open here branch offices, and make IT products which are highly sought after in the world. “Investors know a little about Belarus' legislation, whereas any obscurity increases the risks. The ordinance gives the investors an opportunity to understand that nothing will happen to their money under any circumstances. They are protected by the law. This understanding makes our economy more attractive for large investments,” Viktor Prokopenya believes.

Secondly, the ordinance is aimed at investment in the future: IT specialists and education. According to the businessman, international companies are now unlikely to win over highly qualified Belarusian specialists. “Winning over employees of IT companies, let alone whole teams, is no longer profitable. If a specialist switches to a new company, this company tends to take on increased financial obligations. On the other hand, the flow of top-class specialists between the companies usually improves the expertise of such specialists,” Viktor Prokopenya emphasized. He also stressed the need to study English at a higher level and everywhere, regardless of the further job.

Finally, the ordinance is designed to introduce cutting-edge financial instruments and technologies, including those to provide more favorable conditions for applying the blockchain technology. “Our country enables a legal environment for using the blockchain. This technology can be compared with internet development in the 1990s. The web has transformed many professional fields. So will the blockchain,” Viktor Prokopenya remarked. He clarified that the ordinance “does not recognize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in Belarus” but mentions mining as an important part of the blockchain technology. “Individuals and the Hi-Tech Park resident companies will obtain the right to perform mining. Basically, the ordinance gives the go-ahead for mining and miners,” Viktor Prokopenya clarified.

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