It is interview with the founder of the contest Konstantin Urvantsev
— Today we are going to tell you more about our contest. Konstantin is the founder, the mastermind and the main driving force. Tell us a little about Yourself.

— I am an entrepreneur. I’ve created and realised many different businesses. At the moment, I am the founder of Altairika, an encyclopedia in virtual reality format created for educational purposes. It operates in 23 countries under a franchise.

— What benefits do You see for the contestants?

— In addition to the opportunity of winning the competition and receive investments for their business, participants will learn a lot. The whole competition is not a business training in the classical sense, but a large environment where you can get high-quality information about starting a business and its work from existing entrepreneurs.

How did You came to the idea of the contest?

— Earlier this year, at our franchisee meeting, I broke my leg (literally) to stop and think a little bit about life and what is important – in silence at the hospital. Improving the world throuh business seemed vital to me. I wanted to do bring benefit to the society, including to earn more, work less, and so that all involved parts could gain. The competitiont that I was engaged in last year brought a lot of good, and at the same time occupied the minimum of my personal strength.
We came to the conclusion that the competition should be multi-franchising, that more ideas and franchises should participate in it, and, of course, it should become international.

During all my entrepreneurial life I’ve had a leitmotif: I want to build a large interesting community for aspiring entrepreneurs, where you can learn how to run a business. And at the same time change the life around you for the better - including life in small towns, districts, villages.

When we started working with mobile planetariums in 2010, we focused specifically on rural areas. Yes, the children there have a bicycle, a river, the sky above their heads, but the equipment ends up on an old TV with a curved screen. When we came to these remote corners, our product caused a “wow” effect. And I really wanted to develop this infrastructure.
I am from Siberia (the city of Barnaul), from where the stars are very clearly visible, but it’s educational system clearly can be improved.

Around 2013, when we were already providing mobile planetarium services in most of our country, I had a lot of information about starting a business and building it. I wanted to share this knowledge. In addition, at that period of time I participated in various business competitions, many of which I won.
In 2014 were opened many third-party businesses, in which I invested, advised, and helped aspiring businessmen. Then was formed the idea of helping young people to start their own business.

It is clear that not everyone needs to be an entrepreneur - it is not only and not always a big bank account, but it also requires gray hair by the age of 35. This is a big responsibility, and I respect the people who can take it, who can create new job opportunities.
Therefore, the search for an entrepreneur inside a person takes some time. Someone already at the age of 5 sells candies to a friend in the kindergarten. But that's not what entrepreneurship is about.

And about what?

— When difficult situations arise in life and you don’t just sit down to cry and blame everyone around you, from mom to the president, for your troubles, but you take responsibility and t-a-k-e some a-c-t-i-o-n. And I want to find this quality in people and help to develop it. That's what the competition is for.

Let's say I'm interested in and want to apply. What should I do first?

— In the last competition, we recorded a separate webinar on how to apply correctly. It would seem that there were only 15 fields in the questionnaire with basic things: where did you work, what did you study, what experience in life you had, why are you coming to us. But many applications were rejected because they were filled awfully: three dots, one-word answers, etc. But this is the only way for a person to communicate with curators, the jury of the competition, and experts. Of course, if a person cannot even adequately talk about himself, he is unlikely to go further.

This year we divided the application into several parts: first, the primary designation that he is with us - for this you need to fill in three lines on the site. And then the participant has 8 weeks to fill out a questionnaire: about business experience, and if not, then about aspirations, goals, dreams, values, etc. Our competition aims to help people find a business that they really would like to do, if not for the rest of their lives, then for some significant time, at least for several years.
A franchise is like a business wedding. You choose a partner for yourself, with whom you will sometimes spend even more time than with your real husband / wife.


What is the target audience for the competition?

— We are aimed at start-up entrepreneurs, please do not confuse with young entrepreneurs: a retired person can be a beginner. Maybe he does not have specific experience in business, but life experience will help a lot.
  • Aspiring young entrepreneurs (senior university students - they can combine business with education)
  • Those who already have a business and would like to open a second one - for example, for a family, as an additional one for themselves or for friends, but do not have investments for this.
  • Operating franchisees - for example, even the operating franchisees of "Altairika" participate in the competition in order to expand their sphere of influence: to get new territory and new sets of equipment without investment.

What is the intended audience coverage?

— At least a million people. We expect to collect 3500-5000 applications.
My personal plan is to fund 50 winners. As in previous contests, this time we do not have a hard limit. If 60 people come to us, completely ready to start a business, it means that right in the process of the finale we will re-negotiate with investors and make more winners.

How the selection of participants is made?

— We have a strict selection of new franchisees (coming to us through a competition or through a commercial way - it doesn't matter). We are looking for people who care about the values ​​of the franchise, not those who just want to make money. It can be earned in many ways, but when you are looking for a life's work, it is very important that it fits the ideals. Therefore, the questionnaire allows us to understand what kind of franchise we can offer to the participant.

— I'm in! But if I do not have a specialized education, I do not understand economics and accounting, and in general I am afraid! What are my chances?

— Being afraid is stupid. And becoming an entrepreneur is easy. You can open an LLC in 5 days and with 70 dollars. A lot of well-known entrepreneurs, who are famous to many people, did not graduate from universities and do not have a special education. This is not a call to drop out of school, but all the necessary knowledge can be obtained pointwise. It is advisable to learn from practitioners. “Learn from those you want to be like” is my teaching style. I read books by those authors who are changing the world. I like autobiographies, because a person talks about how he thinks, how he came to his decisions.

We give knowledge from practitioners, from the founders of other franchises, from financiers who understand how to build a business and build the surrounding processes. There is nothing invincible, everything is simple and clear. Moreover, we break all tasks into step-by-step actions. The main thing here is the responsibility and desire to do it.


Tell us about the results of previous competitions.

— The first competition funded three winners. One immediately left the race while he realized that everything is not as fast and easy as it seems. The two others work successfully, one of them has already expanded the are - he bought it together with an investor.

In the second stream, 8 winners were funded, one them did not start - apparently, this is becoming a tradition.
In general we’ve had 1000 applications and 11 funded winners. It turns out that one percent reached the end. Two winners did not start, one is in the process, 8 work successfully. So the 80% success rate I was talking about holds true here as well.
We did not have a limit on the numbe of winners - we gave investments to everyone who seemed ready for it.

This does not mean that after one competition it is not possible to participate. On the contrary, they come to us for the second and the third time. Some of the participants set the bar high: for example, one contestant completed a monthly plan in 2 weeks, even though he had no experience in the business or in our franchise. However, there was a very good mentor from among our successful franchisees, and he defitenetly is (and was) a person with a desire to work. After this case, the operating franchisees thought: if he could do it, why am I not doing it? This is a very cool drive and a reason to shake things up.

— The two previous competitions have focused on the Altairika franchise. What will change this year?

— Yes, the competition originated inside Altairika, I came up with it back in 2019. We decided to connect an entrepreneur who wants to buy our franchise (but for some reason cannot get a loan) and an investor who is ready to invest in a business, but would not want to do the business. Our task is to create a platform where these parts can find each other and come to an agreement.

The idea of ​​the competition arose when we entered the markets of 16 countries, so there was no time for the competition. And last year we got around to implementing it, and we created a meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors. It went much better this way.
The second point: I really wanted to develop rural areas, and in Altairika you could only win a franchise for rural areas. For one child, we could go 5 kilometers to render him a service. And it was not just profitable, we made good money on it.

Altairika, no matter how cool it is, has its own specifics: seasonality, the influence of the epidemiological situation, and other factors. If you add other franchises, then, firstly, the participants have a choice. For example, a person from the Altai region wants to develop a business in his region, but this territory is already occupied by Altairika (in order to limit competition between our franchisees, we assign each our own territory, where no one else has the right to work). And in the new competition, the occupied territories do not affect anything, and we have more opportunities to satisfy the contestants.

Everyone can find something to their liking. I love children, but not all people are ready to go in this direction. People like different activities - that's good. In the competition, we want to provide different areas so that there is a choice, and everyone can find something for themselves.


— Competition timing: how long does each stage last?

— We start accepting applications on September 19, 2022, closing in 8 weeks. Why so long? All this time, the participants are not just waiting, every week is filled with events - it is constant learning and searching for answers to questions: how to choose a franchise, how to understand if you are an entrepreneur, how to overcome fears. Many questions will be removed. Some participants will confirm their decision to win, while others will decide to return to their factory, and this is normal - we will not waste each other's time. Therefore, the earlier you apply, the more benefits you can get.
Live participation will allow you to ask questions to expert speakers and get feedback.

After that - an educational track, each franchise will have its own. There is nothing complicated in this, the essence of the stage is that the participant will go through all the main business processes. We know that everything is fine with our product, but the new potential franchisee is not, and he needs to see it for himself. This is a demo business that does not require investments. Those who wish it will be able to complete the educational track in several franchises. Such motivated contestants will have a wider choice.

After that, we will arrange an online pitching in the format of a presentation. In fact, at this stage, the participant declares: I did it, I'm ready to start. The performance will be listened to by members of the jury and experts. And then it becomes possible to understand who is really eager to go to an end.
At the beginning of January 2023, everyone who made it to the finale will be able to take part in offline training: 3 full days, where business practitioners will share information about sales, negotiations, hiring, etc. Every entrepreneur needs this knowledge, regardless of what he is doing. To be honest, everyone needs this knowledge in general. After all, every day, whether we like it or not, we are engaged in negotiations with other people and selling our ideas. An enchanting conclusion is a chic finale, where participants on several stages will present to the jury why they are worthy of starting their own business without investment. And they will receive funding up to 100% of the cost of all needed, and in just a week they will be able to start working in their region.

— I went through all the stages. If I'm not from Moscow, can I participate?

— We try to make the competition as accessible as possible for all categories of the population. We understand that not everyone has the opportunity to fly to Moscow. Therefore, there will also be an opportunity to participate in the finale online. But practice shows this.
In January, seven out of 8 winners were present in the offline finale. Maybe there is a correlation. Indeed, at a live presentation, you can influence listeners not only with your voice and slides, but also with your charisma. During breaks, you can come up and chat on the sidelines - this is an invaluable opportunity, in this case there are many more tools to win.

But there are no restrictions: if there is no other possibility, then you can participate online.

— What will be the costs for those who come to the finale?

— Flight to Moscow and accommodation for participants is expected at their own expense. For our part, we will provide some discounts. The entire training program, banquets, and entertainment events are at our expense. That is it, fly in and settle in, we will provide everything else.

— In which cities and countries do the winners operate?

— In addition to Russia, these are participants from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. One of the participants applied from Brazil. Moreover, the questionnaire was in Russian, and he answered in Portuguese!

This year everything is much simpler, the competition has become international, and in addition to the Russian language there will be an English-language questionnaire. In particular, we want to give Indian entrepreneurs the opportunity to participate.

Moreover, the competition has an additional benefit. You can win while living in the Moscow region, and after winning go to Costa Rica or Bali. There are no restrictions. It will be a joy for the franchisor if a piece of his business goes to a new country, and for a participant this is a big bonus - you can relocate with a ready-made business, understanding what exactly it will do in a new country.

— Can I choose the franchise I want?

— When you enter the competition, you can choose any of the franchises presented and run a business on it.

— Will someone teach me or will I be given a presentation and articles that I will need to master on my own? Who will interact with me?

— Each franchise has a franchisee development department, which brings together people who are designed to help not only start a business, but also run it. Many have psychologists on staff, trackers who help find weaknesses and strengthen them pointwise. We ask each franchise for an experienced curator who will be assigned to the participant. And the curator will be motivated, vitally interested in financial success, in order to help the contestants as much as possible.

— Will I be able to expand my business after launch?

— Everyone has the opportunity to achieve certain targets in the development of the franchise, and even open the next franchise with an investor or buy out the investor's share and become a full owner of the business. Or, having learned business processes, open your own business, come to the same investors and offer cooperation. But if you start your business from scratch, according to statistics, the success of such an undertaking is 10%. Probably, after training, our participants will have 20%. And with our franchisors have all 80%.

— Will there be any support for the participants in the future when they become franchisees?

— From start to finish. Starting a business with a franchise is much easier: they will help you, you will go to training camps, zooms, networking. You will listen to the cases of other participants who solve exactly the same problems at the same stage, it will be possible to call senior participants, come to franchisee meetings. Business is done successfully and cool by people just like you. If they can do it, why can’t you?

— So I can find new friends, find myself in the company of like-minded people?

— The desire to reinvent the wheel has killed many prospective entrepreneurs. In our competition a person is surrounded by the right people who do business in the same area. Here it is important that we match in values. People not only find new friends, but also continue partnership for many years, creating new projects together. It's a very deep relationship.

At “Altairika” we devote a lot of time to build a community where everyone feels like a family. For example, we hold meetings twice a year, where participants feel like they are in a summer camp: we surround them with a cloud of care, feed them, make a schedule - everything so that people relax and gain new knowledge.

The last trip to Altai was a mind-blowing experience. We swam in a mountain lake in which ice floated, climbed to a height of 2840 meters above sea level, and visited places where communication with space is at a maximum level. People on this trip rethought many things.

— I received an investment, what should I do next?

— When you get into the family of franchisees, you will have answers from our community to any questions that arise. That is why we carefully select franchisors and allow only those who have a franchisee long-term development program. If we start cooperation, it will last for a long time.


— Who are the investors of the contest?

— An investment fund is a story that is not in the public field. The fund includes dozens of investors, individuals. They have extra money, and they want to attach it with the benefit of society.

— If I am an investor and I want to invest for the benefit of the public. Why should I choose you?

— The survival rate of a business that an entrepreneur opens is 10% on average. 90% of startups close in the first year, because many start doing something that has not yet been in the world. People think like this: "A flying taxi is exactly what we need to do right now." At the same time, there are no connections, investments, or necessary knowledge. They close not because the idea is bad, but simply do not calculate their strength, do not know how to calculate capital, hire employees poorly or do not do it at all, save / spend money in the wrong place ... So, there are many factors.

A franchise is a set of tools for a quick, understandable and successful start of a business. Who is a franchisor? For example, I started doing everything myself in “Altairika”. We have been providing services in the CIS for several years. And we know in detail what a parent, a child, a teacher, a director, the Ministry of Education and everyone needs. Each of these people must be satisfied with our product.

We have packaged all these processes into step-by-step instructions: how to approach someone and what to say, how to dress, how a business card should look; what to do with the security guard who doesn’t let you into the school because the school suddenly had COVID… and we rewrite the instructions when the situation requires it.

The entrepreneur does not decide himself how to deal with COVID, but the franchisor and the whole team together with him solve the emerging issues. Therefore, the survival rate of a franchise business is more than 80%.
Therefore, starting a business with a franchise is right, easy and doomed to success.

From an investor's point of view, investing in a startup is great: you invest in 10 pieces, 9 of which will be dead. One survivor in a good case that broughts 100x of income. It’s different for us: there won’t be 100 X, but the survival rate is 80%, while the marginality reaches 100% (after all, we prefer the service sector).

On average, the yield is 30-40% per annum, in some places it reaches 80%. The investor, of course, cannot expect that each franchisee will perform the maximum, based on the financial model. Someone does better, someone worse, but I named the average numbers.
The fund will finance 50 entrepreneurs who will open a business under 7 different franchises in different regions and countries - this is the highest level of diversification imaginable. At the same time, each franchisee will do a useful thing in his region.

Therefore, with one check, the investor invests in hundreds and thousands of satisfied people who receive services from our franchisees. In doing so, we create 50 new entrepreneurs who take responsibility not only for their lives, but also for their families, employees, customers. This is a socially beneficial activity.


— How do you check the effectiveness of the economic models of the franchises you cooperate with?

— This is very important - the accreditation of the franchise.

At the moment, it is impossible to get into the competition from the street, you need to be in full view of the experts of the competition or me. After the recommendation, we pay attention to the franchise, after which we check it. Among the partners of the competition is the topfranchise.ru portal with their honest rating, which really shows how much the franchisor cares about its partners, helps to start and supports in the future.

Secondly, we have our own verification service, we call franchisees ourselves.

Thirdly, the team and I evaluate the financial model for adequacy: how it takes into account factors affecting the business - for example, the volatility of the exchange rate.

Therefore, we study and manually verify franchises. It’s good that we don’t have the task of checking a thousand or even a hundred franchises, seven are enough for us.

— Why is the survival rate of a franchise business 80%?

— 80% is a lot in relation to the business as a whole. The franchisor fell into all the traps, starting with what taxation system to stop on and how to hire employees (labor code, self-employed system, contracts with individual entrepreneurs, etc.). All the instructions have already been written, and a lot of problems are removed immediately. We have thought of everything and proposed solutions, it remains only to go and work.

Competition winners don't win a suitcase full of money, they win a job to be done. Every step that an entrepreneur has to take is prescribed by a good franchisor. We check this too, of course.


— What are the benefits for partners of the competition? Who is already a partner?

— We have a very diverse community involved.
+ It is interesting to work with the competition for those who provide services for beginners and experienced entrepreneurs. For example, it can be banking and accounting services, consulting programs. At the start, an entrepreneur needs a cash register, printing services and many other things more - we welcome everyone who can help along the way.
+ Of course, the participants are interested in developing, they have a lot of training ahead. And it is best to learn from books - therefore, we need the support of educational portals and book publishers. They will become a source of useful information for the participants. In addition, information about the competition will be very useful for their target audiences.
+ Also, entrepreneurial communities with their own coverage can become partners, because through them we will be able to reach those who need information about the competition. At the same time, it is a great benefit for their community to give the right tool to their audience.

Any company that is ready to benefit entrepreneurs can become a partner. Before us, no one has done such a competition, especially on an international scale. Therefore, this is a unique opportunity, including for partners.

— Do you offer exclusive integrations for partners?

— I do not like advertising in general, especially direct advertising, hitting the forehead. I am for mutual benefit. We can qualitatively integrate useful offers from our partners.

If you want to advertise, let's figure out where/how you're useful and let’s talk about it. Separately it’s possible to make your own educational track from a partner or provide gifts and prizes (for example, a publishing house can donate books - we will arrange weekly drawings for participants). Such things work better for memorability, and we are ready to come up with native advertising together with partners.

Of course, there is image advertising. We also cooperate in the following format: we post information on the website, in social networks, issue separate publications, and provide all our services that can reach the maximum audience. In addition, we give the opportunity to make a welcoming speech, to present gifts. Any value you can provide will be available in the form of a huge number of integrations.

— Do you limit the formats of cooperation and partnership?

— The more interesting the partner is for us in terms of benefits for the participants of the competition, the more we can come up with him.


— Taking into consideration a big number of interested people, what is the secret of such a popularity of the contest?

— We do not give money to anyone, fortunately for investors and unfortunately for some participants.

We give a springboard - it means that a person starts a business without investments, and then he will need to earn extra money in order to continue this business. It is clear that investments will not be able to support business without income for 10 years, and this is not our task.

The conditions of the competition attract freeloaders: indeed, people get something for free. But when they begin to figure out that it will also require work, then some participants fall off.
Choosing proven franchises is also very important. In total, there are more than 3,000 types of franchises in the post-Soviet space, most of which are unknown to anyone. The participant does not just start some new business, he starts it under our supervision with a proven expert.

Even if you didn't win the investment, you probably don't need it by the end. During the competition, you learn everything you need and can take a loan or persuade your parents to give money to open a business (with or without a franchise).

— What advice would you give to the participants?

— Do not apply for the competition if you are not sure that you want to connect your life with entrepreneurship. Your staff may have a stomach ache, a child, a dog .... If you are not ready for the fact that you will constantly have to negotiate something with someone, you will not have enough skills, and you will have to make an improvised desk and study again. Sometimes you will wake up in the morning and understand: “Everything is gone!” It happens that something goes wrong, and you urgently need to go to work instead of your staff. Or vice versa: you can be on an island on vacation with your family, open your laptop and watch how beautifully your income numbers grow in the CRM system. But this comes after you have established business processes. To achieve this last picture, FranchCamp already has everything. Moreover, you can earn money for start-up capital! Therefore, all you need is the desire to connect your life with new interesting challenges. If you are tired of sitting at your factory, if you are bored, if you do not understand what the meaning of your life is, come to us and together we will try to figure it out.

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