Deputy Economic Development Minister Stanislav Voskresensky said a bill passed Friday on President Dmitry Medvedev's Skolkovo project would extend tax breaks to potential tenants even before the research hub officially opens.
The tax breaks are a crucial feature of the bill, he said. "If some guys working out of a garage in Novosibirsk can show that they've come up with a serious innovation, they can get the tax breaks," Voskresensky said in an interview.
Medvedev, keen to diversify Russia's economy away from energy exports, in March asked billionaire Viktor Vekselberg to oversee the creation of a Russian technology center in Skolkovo where tax breaks and other incentives would be offered to lure investment. In June, he visited California's Silicon Valley.
Companies including Siemens, Cisco Systems and Nokia have agreed to participate in the project.
Voskresensky said companies would have to go through an approval procedure to qualify for tax breaks, including zero profit tax.
Vekselberg told reporters at the Duma that he aimed to attract several pilot projects by the end of the year. "We won't sit and wait," he said.
Until the opening date, Skolkovo will work with companies to develop projects at their existing facilities.