When asked what is the secret of our success, Nina Yanykina, head of the Project Management and Innovation Department, said that it’s "the best team, focus on results for our students, professors, innovators and entrepreneurs with whom we work, and also the desire, ability and possibility to look into the future and look for new ways to grow." She tells us that, at this time, such areas of growth are, for example, "an accelerator program for startuppers in the food industry, as well as the initiative for women’s leadership development."

The director of the Business incubator at ITMO University, Ms. Elena Gavrilova, believes that the success of the incubator is primarily due to the efforts of its founders, three brothers, Vladislav, Mikhail and Igor Kudinov, and the openness of ITMO’s rector, Mr. Vladimir Vasiliyev, who supports the initiatives of students and employees at the University. In 2012, at the incubator, the Kudinov brothers also launched the accelerator "SumIT" for IT projects. There are now over 80 companies that have graduated from this accelerator.

"I've been running the Business Incubator since May, 2016, and I decided to completely restructure everything so that the business processes and procedures would become more transparent, understandable and interesting for employees, students and young entrepreneurs" explained Elena Gavrilova.

Now there is also the Future Technologies accelerator program which has two tracks. The first is FT Start, which is for projects that are still at the idea stage. The second track is FT IT and FT Science, which is for projects which already have a high-tech R&D prototype or product in the IT field. Under the SumIT brand, international summer startup schools for IT projects continue to be run. Besides this, employees of the business incubator work with school kids, using the experience in the regions under the interregional network program. In 2016 alone, 63 ITMO students and 21 others went through the acceleration programs of the business incubator. ITMO’s incubator also helps its residents enter international markets through partnerships with Startup UCLA (USA), KYAMK University (Finland), Helsinki Hub, and through participation in such forums as *ship, SLUSH and others.

The business incubator’s projects have brought in over 56 million rubles of investments and grants. More than 35 events have been held at the incubators headquarters. Moreover, as part of the interregional network program, the incubator became a partner, organizer and co-organizer of events in nearly ten regions in Russia.

As mentioned above, the venture fund and startup accelerator iDealMachine at ITMO University took second place in the rankings of Russia’s university based accelerators. Last year, iDealMachine was in the top-5 university accelerators in the world according to UBI Global.

About 59 university and 13 independent business incubators and accelerators in Russia were assessed by UBI Global based on 41 different criteria. The criteria were grouped into three categories: value for the Russian Ecosystem, value for startup clients and attractiveness of the programs. UBI Global rankings have been around since 2013, and have run analyses with more than 400 incubator and accelerator programs in 70 countries in the world.