This month a team of Russian government officials, bankers, university administrators and venture capitalists are planning a tour of New England as part of an effort by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation to strengthen small business development in both countries.
Although the full itinerary has yet to be confirmed, Dennis Byrne from the SBA’s Office of Communication and Public Liaison told us that the delegates will attend the Gordon Research Conferences in Waterford, NH, which focus on the biological, chemical and physical sciences. In addition, they will meet with CEO Valentin Gapontsev, Ph.d and Corporate Development VP Martin LaGuerre of IPG Photonics, Inc, a fiber laser manufacturing company in Oxford, MA that among other things makes optical amplifiers for telecommunication networks. The group will also visit Cynthia Bouthot from the Russia Innovation Collaborative in Cambridge, MA and Dougan Sherwood, Director of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), which is a high-tech co-working space for technology and life science companies in the Greater Boston area that’s located near the MIT campus.
The trip will conclude with a meeting at SBA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss policies affecting small businesses and ways to implement the Memorandum of Agreement, which was signed by both governments under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission established by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in July 2009 to promote financing, job creation and other forms of government support for emerging businesses. Byrne said that the Russians are especially interested in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, which awards funding to innovative high-tech companies with less than 500 employees.
RELATED: In June Russian president Dmitry Medvedev went to California to meet with governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the founders of Twitter, as part of his effort to create an entrepreneurial community similar to Silicon Valley just outside of Moscow. For more details, click here.