Sber and Visa launch Business Championship marathon to support women entrepreneurs

Jul 16, 2021

A coding school, a craft travel agency, a law business, and motorcycle racing – what do these classes have in common? These are the projects that have been implemented by mentors of the business marathon to be held in the Business Championship program by the online banking application SberBusiness and Visa.

The marathon will help female entrepreneurs to work on their projects and manage them. To that end, SberBusiness and Visa have launched a series of lectures and invited ten mentors, who will teach students how to develop businesses and tell them about the qualities this requires. Just like in sports, succeeding in business has to do with strength, stamina, and perseverance. This is why the mentors are successful business women and renowned female athletes.

The marathon will consist of topical units, with business and sports professionals speaking about entrepreneurship, overcoming difficulties, and personal growth. What’s most important is the idea that drives you – this is what all marathon mentors believe in.

Olga Fleur, the founder of Meet For Charity, a charity auction, will tell you how to not be afraid to take the first step in business and succeed without connections and money. Olga started her business with mistakes and experiments, which helped her raise an investment of USD 250,000 in Silicon Valley to open a charity auction.

Irina Polezhaeva, founder of the travel agency uletim.ru, knows how to use the crisis to find new points of growth. A former editor-in-chief on TV, she started a business that almost went bust during the COVID era. However, Irina pulled herself together and marketed a new product – craft tours across Russia when you immerse yourself in the local culture.

Irina Skvortsova, a former bobsledder and TV host, knows how to start life anew and find the strength to move on. Coma, dozens of surgeries, and long recuperation – that's what the Russian bobsledder went through after a serious injury. Irina quit sports, but started working on TV and even took part in the Olympic Torch Relay.

Elena Ovsyannikova, founder of a chocolate laboratory, will tell you how to develop your business and what you should pay attention to when scaling it. The former journalist joined the confectionery business, and her endeavor grew from a small candy production in the kitchen to a major chocolate laboratory.

Oksana Selendeeva, founder of the CODDY school of programming for children, will give insights into how to build a strong team, analyze the experience of each participant, find solutions to difficult problems, delegate and manage. Oksana made a career in finance but then realized that she wanted something different and started her own business, a coding school for children.

How do I participate in the marathon?

July 15, 2021 is when the marathon starts accepting entries. Participants need to register on the program website to start their training, watch all lectures of their mentors, test their knowledge with short quizzes and a rating system.

What do participating women get?

Apart from the insights shared by business and sports experts, marathon participants can win prizes. Ten female entrepreneurs with the biggest number of points will make it to the finals where three winners will be chosen by vote. They will get RUB 200,000, RUB 150,00, and RUB 100,000 for the first, second, and third places, respectively. The winners can invest the prize money into their businesses. First-place winner will have a chance of participating in a Now I’m the Boss! Of My Business special dedicated to female entrepreneurship on Friday! TV channel.

Support is crucial for a business, especially when it starts. I’m not talking about finance only. Beginning entrepreneurs are in dire need of business knowledge and skills that schools and universities don’t teach. That is exactly why we launch and support various initiatives designed to develop entrepreneurial expertise. And it's best to learn from people who are just like you, from those who started from scratch, overcame difficulties and started their own businesses. It’s this kind of female entrepreneurs who will be the mentors in the marathon we are co-running with Visa. If it worked out for them, it can work out for you. The most important are a viable idea, experienced mentors, will, determination and, of course, use our SberBusiness mobile application, which allows you to manage your business 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Anna Loevskaya

Director of the Digital Corporate Bank Division, Sberbank

Female entrepreneurs often face challenges and barriers on their road to building a thriving business. The biggest barrier they have encountered in recent years is the pandemic, which challenged them to move their businesses online fast in order to keep them afloat. Only one in five female entrepreneurs aged 18 to 34 have moved their business online over the past year. And this is just one of the many issues that business owners in Russia face every day. To help them develop their businesses, Visa and SberBusiness have designed a special program with a mission to train women in practical business skills with advice and mentorship from experienced female entrepreneurs and athletes. Through the synergy of sports and business approaches, we want to help women grow their businesses and make them more successful.

Mikhail Berner

CEO, Visa Russia

Business Championship is part of the international initiative She’s Next empowered by Visa, which started in 2019. Covering all regions of Visa’s operations, the program is designed to support women entrepreneurs in the management, financing, and development of their businesses.

SberBusiness is part of Sber that works with small businesses and self-employed citizens, making technology accessible and opening new opportunities to start and develop businesses while offering budding and mature entrepreneurs a raft of financial, non-financial, and educational services.

The SberBusiness brand also incorporates SberBusiness Live, a media venue that helps business people find their niche, pool experience and best practices, and SberBusiness, an online banking solution with a website and a mobile app that have an aggregate monthly audience of over 2.9 million entities.

SberBusiness makes technology accessible and opens new opportunities to start and develop businesses while offering budding and mature entrepreneurs a raft of financial, non-financial, and educational services.