Sber and Visa name winners of Business Championship marathon

Sep 17, 2021

The results of the Business Championship marathon are in. It was held to back the joint campaign by SberBusiness and Visa that was held to support women entrepreneurs. The winners – Aziza Tursunova, owner of the beauty parlor Golden Hands; Anna Rudakova, head and founder of the Woman Who Matters Forum and Awards; and Asya Karpelson, head of a popcorn bar chain – will receive 250,000, 150,000, and 100,000 rubles for coming in first, second, and third, respectively. First prize winner, Aziza Tursunova, can also participate in the shooting of an episode of Now I’m the Boss!, a joint project by Sber and Friday TV.

More than 3,000 women entrepreneurs from 40 cities across Russia participated in the Business Championship marathon. Ten finalists were picked after five marathon stages. After making it into the finals, they were tasked with describing how to create a business of one’s dreams. Their stories were uploaded to a landing page of the marathon on the SberBusiness Live website where everyone had a chance to vote for the pitch they liked. This is how – by open vote – the winners were chosen.

Ten professional business people and athletes took part in the marathon as mentors to speak about entrepreneurship, overcoming difficulties, and personal development: Olga Fleur, the founder of Meet For Charity, a charity auction; Anastasiya Nifontova, FIM Women's Cross-Country Rallies World Cup winner; Ekaterina Dukhina, an attorney-at-law and managing partner of the Dukhina and Partners law firm; Ekaterina Sirotina, senior coach of the Russian rhythmic gymnastics junior team; Irina Polezhaeva, the founder of the travel agency uletim.ru; Irina Skvortsova, a bobsledder and TV host; Oksana Selendeeva, the founder of the CODDY school of programming for children; Yana Egorian, a two-time individual and team sabre fencing Olympic champion; Elena Ovsyannikova, the founder of the chocolate laboratory O chocolate; Anastasiya Pustovoitova, a soccer player, coach, and master of sports of Russia.

The lectures of mentors, their interviews and additional post-marathon materials are available on the website to everyone.

Anna Loevskaya, director of the Digital Corporate Bank Division, Sberbank:

“The share of women engaged in small businesses in Russia is currently below 30%, which is a much smaller proportion compared to mature economies. This means that the growth potential for female entrepreneurship is enormous. On our end, we are very happy to be launching and supporting the projects that help realize this potential.

Three thousand women entrepreneurs participating in the marathon had a chance to learn the best business practices from their female compatriots and tell their unique stories. I hope that this exchange will benefit the businesses and lives of all our heroines.”

Michael Berner, Country Manager Russia at Visa:

“Entrepreneurship is about knowing how to overcome many barriers and your ability to cope with challenges. This skill can be learned and will definitely be useful. According to Visa, 55% of women entrepreneurs who faced difficulties during the pandemic expect new challenges for their business in the near future. There is an abundance of programs that help women master the basics of doing business these days, but few of them teach entrepreneurs how to cope and move forward even when the circumstances are against you. This is exactly why our marathon combined practical business skills training and motivational videos by top business women and female athletes. We hope that they helped the marathon participants to better cope with inevitable crises, believe in themselves, and be more successful in business.”

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.