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Absolut Investment

With grant money from the vodka-maker, a dream is now half fulfilled.

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This story appears in the June 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Crashing in an airplane is a national nightmare. Finding expansion capital is an entrepreneur's dream come true. Yet both intertwine in the theatrical production Charlie Victor Romeo. On-stage, actors perform scenes culled from transcripts of airplanes' black boxes, while off-stage, a $50,000 grant from Absolut Vodka is allowing the theater company to expand into a company that produces educational videos.

Bob Berger, 34, and Justin Davila, 29, are the entrepreneurial creators of New York City-based Charlie Victor Romeo, which produced the play. When the show ran off-Broadway throughout 1999 and 2000, audiences were moved by it-including aviation professionals, who wanted to use the play as a training tool for their flight crews. So Berger, with a master's degree in interactive telecommunications, and Davila, who's completing his master's in artificial intelligence, developed a training video in conjunction with the Air Force. (While watching the "pilots," the user can also see what the airline controls are doing.)

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