April went back very quickly—so fast that we can say that it flew. But, at least we managed to see the sun and to enjoy the feel of spring. In our beautiful city they began to raise the bridges and we, at SPIBA, continue to direct and build crossings.
7 April  we held a business tour in the SEZ “St. Petersburg”. The central questions of the meeting was to discuss the further development of the SEZ project in St. Petersburg and the possibilities of creating the free customs zone and the tax regime in the area. Included in the meeting were colleagues from Tomsk and Tomsk representatives of the customs post, during event they provided an opportunity not only to demonstrate excellent opportunities for teleconferencing, but also to answer the most serious and urgent issues of residents of these special economic zones and for potential investors. These are questions of implementation of tax and customs preferences expressed by the SEZ project. The business tour was a “real surprise” for the participants. We saw real-life practices and constructive dialogue between business and customs authorities in Tomsk, they even assessed the feasibility of existing preferences in the SEZ. The Tomsk experience in administering the customs-free zones should be replicated and applied to our region as well.
12 April The SPIBA Legislation and Lobbying Committee, met with Sergei Osutinym, Director General of the League of Mediators, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Consulting Group “O.S.V.”, who made a presentation on “The essence of the principles of mediation. Differences in mediation of the trial “

April 14
 was the beginning of a new organization the SPIBA Committee – Committee on Finance. The hotel Courtyard by Marriott, St. Petersburg Center West Pushkin Hotel held an open business meeting, which was made possible by Maxim Oreshkin, head of the Analytical Department for Russian and the CIS Credit Agricole CIB with the theme “Looking at Russia’s economy, the ruble, and interest rates.” This very interesting and informative report aroused a genuine interest among the audience who asked many questions, who received informative and professional response from Mr. Oreshkin. The event was announced in SPIBA’s new committee. We will be glad to hear your ideas and suggestions for future presentations, etc.!

19 April, the HR Committee held its regular meeting. Julia Sakharova, Director of the St. Petersburg branch HeadHunter made a presentation on the topic “Working with a reputation as an employer on the Internet.” It is obvious that the reputation of the Internet in its broadest sense is nowadays an increasingly hot topic. It is necessary to manage it properly, therefore it is important to meet with management and find innovative and effective tools from those with existing practice. Marina Varzar, HR Director, EMC Corporation, and Anthony Vincent, Director WebVoicetold us about a real case study work and the reputation of the employer on the Internet.

April 21 SPIBA EHS Committee held a conference “Best Practices and Challenges in the field of ecology in the industry: Experience in international companies.” The conference was held with the support of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom. On-site tea-packing production Unilever brought together representatives of the state authorities of St. Petersburg as well as large Western and Russian companies, and the media in order to share effective practices to solve pressing problems in ecology, working with waste, reduce environmental impacts, as well as to discuss current issues of public policy on environmental issues. The conference participants concluded that, despite the shortcomings of the legislation in the field of environment and the lack of modern standards, there is already a wealth of experience from foreign companies.  It is important to share this experience with Russian companies as well as with authorities who are developing new legislation in this area. At the event the Company Unilever introduced a Russian version of the global project on responsible business development in the protection of the environment and human welfare. Also shared were their environmental projects, which were presented by JTI, Coca-Cola and Optogan.

April 20, Ludmila Murgulets, Executive Director SPIBA, participated in a press conference on the theme: “II Russian-European Innovation Forum in Lappeenranta in the Finnish-Russian Innovation Centre. SPIBA is a partner of the Forum, which will be held May 25-26 in Lapeeranta, Finland. Ludmila Murgulets will aslo be speaker at the Forum. Please note, that members of the Association and its partners will be provided the special conditions of participation, as well as an additional program.
April 28 the newspaper “Business Petersburg” and the agency of business communication DP Media with the support of SPIBA held a conference entitled “System of effective interaction with state authorities.” SPIBA plans to continue to expand cooperation with the publication.

The first item on the agenda – is to find and share a common language! April 6th, we held the first English Speaking Club with a native speaker. The initial idea was to create a platform for what would be coaching skills of spoken English. Of course, we all learned English! However, without practice language gradually “falls asleep” and goes into our subconscious. We have a fear of making language mistakes and publicly showing our incompetence. At SPIBA, we repeatedly asked our members to organize such an opportunity to speak in English, and we received positive feedback. Now we have an informal forum to communicate English in a friendly setting. From 27 April forward, we will meet every Wednesday at 7 pm. We will be glad to see you for lots of fun in an informal setting! We will invite interesting guests to speak English and to discuss fascinating topics.