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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Toronto school promotes East-West links

Russian business executives will get a chance to hone their capitalist skills in Canada, thanks to a $500, 000 project organized by Toronto's York Universi-ty-About 60 businesspeople from the Commonwealth of Independent States will travel to Toronto this summer to study Canada's market system and create links with Canadian businesses, said Rein Peterson, a York University professor who organized the program for York's East-West Enterprise Exchange.


"The idea is to build a network of people", said Peterson, in Moscow to promote the project and select participants. "The whole purpose of the exercise is to encourage trade between Canada and Russia".


So far, the project -- already in its 4th year -- seems to be working. Its graduates include Tiit Vahi, Estonia's prime minister, as well as other politicians, entrepreneurs and members of the Academy of National Economy.


About 35 businessmen, 18 academics and seven officials will participate in the program, which will be held in May and June in Toronto. Businessmen will learn market skills and participate in stock exchange games and programs that illustrate how to draw up business plans. For the final three weeks, participants are placed with Canadian businesses for handson training.


The average age for all participants is 38. "The requirements are that they must learn the basics of the market system, speak business English and be empowered by their organizations to be able to sign agreements with other companies", Peterson said. "They're not totally naive".


While other countries have business programs, none are as intensive as York's, Peterson boasts.


As part of the final stages of the selection process, Peterson delivered a satellite-lecture to potential participants in Moscow and Tartu University in Estonia.


The program is mainly funded by the Canadian and Ontario governments. Peterson said he hopes Canadian companies will fund the remainder of about $100, 000. CUBC, a Canada-C. I. S. business council based in Moscow and Tartu University helped organize the program.