Dear friends,

2010 came to an end and New Year 2011 has begun. It is time to summarize, set goals and make plans for the next year.

What is the most important for us? First of all, we want to stay real, which means authentic, useful for you, sincere and open. Nowadays it is especially valuable. In this regard, we have decided to share our thoughts and ideas, but we are also looking forward to your new proposals and initiatives. For this purpose it was decided to establish regular communication with you. In 2011 we are opening a new permanent SPIBA Hotline. We hope it will give you an opportunity to get answers to your questions and jointly solve the actual problem.

As a nonprofit organization, our main goal is not to make a profit. Our main goal is to create additional values for all of us with your help. This is something that we could not get by acting individually. Our main resource is human capital of our association and the trust that exists between us.
The larger the number of our members and partners, the richer and stronger we become. Therefore, in 2010 we tried to establish partnerships with other similar associations in our region and at the federal level. We have started negotiations about joining of our forces in the North-West of Russia with Association of European Business (AEB). We hope that this year those negotiations will show first results.
In order to go forward we must periodically look back and learn from our successes and mistakes.  What is important happened in 2010?

Last year, as many of you know, was not very easy for us. It began with a change of Executive Director, so except for natural consequences of the economic crisis we have faced many internal organizational and financial difficulties as well. We had a lot to review and change in our organization.

Earlier this year we gathered a group of SPIBA activists, held a strategic session and set several ambitious goals for ourselves – to revive SPIBA, increase its usefulness and enhance its appeal to our members.

Many goals have already been achieved this year. All this happened thanks to the energy and initiative of our activists, heads of committees and working groups, focused work of our Executive Committee as well as dedication and creativity of our office staff.

We have created a SPIBA Dream Team acting as a driving force for development of association & business of its members, as well as the development of the economy in general. We are happy when we hear that SPIBA is a community of young and promising leaders, and highly innovative companies.

What is SPIBA now?

  • It is an independent business community of international companies in Northwest Russia, which is characterized by its user-friendly interface and democracy, openness and flexibility, ability to dialogue and cooperate with state authorities, ability to successfully represent interests of its members and to solve problems constructively.
  • It is a platform for sharing information, experiences, perspectives, sharing creativity and promotion on the market.
  • It is an opportunity to catch main trends together: to understand “where the wind blows” and to follow “the train of thought” of those who determine the policy and trends in legislation development. It is especially important now because everything is changing so fast in Russia, as well as in the rest of the world. And to track all changes and new information independently can be pretty difficult.
  • It is a community of people united by common interests and values.

What was our plan for 2010?

  1. To strengthen the work of the committees, to make them more relevant and demanded;
  2. To establish partnerships with government agencies, European offices and other business associations and community organizations;
  3. To improve communications inside of Association as well as outside of it. Which means is to make SPIBA more visible to entire business community in North-West Russia.
  4. As a result, we made our members more loyal and active. In addition, we have been able to attract new interested members and partners in association.

Results of our work

In February we moved into a new office and made it a comfortable place for meetings and discussions on various topics. We held Housewarming party and Open doors day for diplomatic missions and representatives of the media.

We held 82 events during the year:

  • 3 General meetings of SPIBA members;
  • 13 Executive Committee meetings;
  • 7 Marketing Committee meetings;
  • 3 company visits;
  • 9 HR Committee meetings;
  • 11 Legislation and Lobbying Committee meetings. Within this Committee there was organized a working group on customs. SPIBA entered the Advisory Council on Customs Policy of the North-West Customs Administration. We set up a “hotline” through which we are ready to assist in case of issues related to customs. As part of LLC Committee, we established an Expert Group of Advisory Board of UFAS of St. Petersburg. SPIBA also became a member of Advisory Board of UFAS.
  • 10 Environmental Health & Safety Committee meetings;
  • 2 Real Estate events;
  • 8 social events, including SPIBA “White Nights” Boat Cruise;
  • 16 round tables, seminars, conferences, workshops and master classes.
  • We have participated in 43 city’s events as a media partner.

In June 2010 we launched a new web interface of SPIBA website.

We organized regular weekly and monthly distribution of information about our events.

Future Plans

Analyzing the survey conducted amongst our members, in 2011 we want to set main priorities and directions for long-term development of Association:

  1. To continue active work of our Committees. In the beginning of 2011 there will be held elections of 2 Co-Chairs of HR Committee. Environment Health & Safety Committee will hold its annual conference “Power and Business: direct conversation”;
  2. To form new committees such as: financial, real estate and construction, social affairs and the quality of life committees;
  3. Create a “Hotline” and other new opportunities to solve critical issues associated with work in North-West Russia;
  4. In cooperation with SPIBA members and other partners offer additional services such as Educational programs and trainings, business coaching, services for obtaining work visas and work permits, organization of corporate events, workshops, seminars and conferences, market studies, advisory on business development in the region;
  5. To expand the number of SPIBA members, particularly through the development of business relations with the wider range of national representation;
  6. To increase our influence on the federal level;
  7. To offer our members more opportunities for joint promotion on the market.

We invite you to take an active part in SPIBA and show more initiative in determining the focus of our activities.

We wish everyone joint progress and new achievements, pleasure of communicating, as well as happiness and harmony in their personal lives in New Year!

Best regards,

Ludmila Murgulets

Executive Director