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1995-1996 index

Distributed September 13, 1995
Contact: Richard Morin

Three-city U.S. tour

Brown-trained Belarusian entrepreneurs seek Western investment

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Ten Belarusian entrepreneurs, all graduates of a unique business training center operated in Minsk, Belarus, by Brown University, are visiting the United States to seek investors for projects ranging from production of a new battery technology that produces more energy and lowers production costs to implementation of a Jamaican rutabaga cultivation and processing technique that allows the plant, which absorbs the harmful nuclides, to grow in Chernobyl irradiated zones.

Members of the delegation, whose plans were rated the best of nearly 100 graduates of the Brown Foreign Investment Training Center, will present their business plans to investors and investment firms during forums to be held in New York (Friday, Sept. 15), Philadelphia (Tuesday, Sept. 19) and Washington, D.C. (Friday, Sept. 22).

This is the second such tour of Belarusian entrepreneurs sponsored by Brown. Last year, three of the ten entrepreneurs successfully secured U.S. investment.

"Our broad goal is to assist the former Soviet republics in their transition to market economies. The specific way we do this is to work with entrepreneurs in the former Soviet Union to develop business plans that conform to Western styles and standards," said Alan Sherr, director of economic security studies at Brown University's Center for Foreign Policy Development.

Brown established the Brown Foreign Investment Training Center in Minsk in 1993. The Center uses Russian language computer programs and training materials to teach business people how to develop the detailed, well-researched business plans that Western investors require. After 1995, the Center will be operated on a self-sustaining basis by a Belarusian organization with the cooperation of Brown. A second training center will be opened by Brown in Kiev, Ukraine, later this year.

During the U.S. tour, the Belarusian entrepreneurs will be supplied with interpreters for translation of formal presentations and assistance during one-on-one meetings with investors who want further details. Their presentations will be accompanied by slides, hand-outs and business plans, which will be available in English. The Belarusians will also meet with U.S. government officials during their tour.

"Most of these businesses have been quite successful in Belarus and have grown exponentially. They are now looking for joint ventures to further that growth," Sherr said.

Editors: A detailed itinerary of the Belarusians' visit is available from the Brown News Bureau: 401/863-2476.

Business Plan Summaries

Brown University

Brown University, through its Center for Foreign Policy Development (part of the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies), has been working with U.S. and other Western companies in the former Soviet Union and post-Soviet states since 1987. The focus of Brown's work has been to understand how Western firms could successfully develop trade and investment opportunities there. The University has worked with more than 200 U.S companies as they negotiated and began operation of joint ventures.