First it was glasnost and perestroika, then religious freedom and the convertible ruble. Now, thanks to Utah's Jefferson Institute, American entrepreneurs can adopt a Soviet business.
Elvin K. Kalinin, professor and chief researcher at the Moscow Aviation Technological Institute, came to Utah this past week to complete negotiations with the Jefferson Institute for a joint business training school in the Soviet Union.The Jefferson Institute and its Soviet partner Intellect, a charitable foundation of top Soviet scientists, are developing an entrepreneurial training academy in the Soviet Union. The first phase will bring American and Soviet business people together for a series of 10-day cruises along the Volga River.
Jefferson Institute Director Mark Stoddard said, "Soviet businesses are ready to embrace capitalism and we're going to teach them how. There are monumental risks involved, but the opportunities are limitless."
During the cruises, American businesses will seek Soviet businesses to "adopt." Ideally, the two will form a a mutually beneficial relationship. The American business becomes a sort of mentor for the Soviet business.
The American businesspeople will offer their skills, experience and knowledge to their Soviet counterparts. In turn, the Americans will develop and expand bases in the Soviet Union.
"Our main goal is to help our people and to teach business to our people," Kalinin said. "I am convinced this is the best way for our country."
In phase two, the Jefferson Institute will train Soviets to teach entrepreneurship to other Soviets. This will be similar to a small business incubator, which will train and support start-up businesses until they are able to stand on their own.
Staffing this incubator will be Soviet experts on finance, management, marketing, organization, systems, production and more. Each would be available to consult, advise, and train new Soviet entrepreneurs.
Help planned for Chernobyl
The Jefferson Institute and Intellect, a Soviet charitable organization, plan to combine efforts on a project to help the people still living in the area contaminated during the Chernobyl disaster.
"There are 300,000 people living there right now," Intellect leader Dr. Elvin Kalinin said. "They must be relocated."
Ten percent of the money made from Kalinin's Intellect group will go for the Chernobyl project.