YEO Opens First Center in Russia

Growth of entrepreneurship in the country makes YEO's entrance especially welcome.

By Devlin Smith

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Young Russian entrepreneurs now have the ability to take part innetworking and educational opportunities, thanks to the opening ofa YoungEntrepreneurs' Organization (YEO) chapter in Moscow inFebruary. The first in Russia, the Moscow chapter was openedthrough a partnership between YEO (a peer-to-peer network andresource organization for entrepreneurs under 40) and The U.S.Russia Center for Entrepreneurship (a provider of education andnetwork learning activities for entrepreneurs in Russia).

"There has been drastic change in Russia which fostersopportunity," says Brien Biondi, CEO of Alexandria,Virginia-based YEO. "YEO has the chance with The U.S. RussiaCenter for Entrepreneurship to advance the scope and role ofentrepreneurs in Russia while extending its hand to support,educate and encourage entrepreneurs globally."

Membership is open to the under-40 founders, co-founders, ownersor controlling shareholders of businesses with gross annualrevenues exceeding $1 million. Through their YEO membership,entrepreneurs have access to the organization's 4,700 members,making connections and gaining knowledge within their industry andaround the world. "By introducing the young Russianentrepreneurs to the extensive networking and knowledge resourcesof YEO through The U.S. Russia Center for Entrepreneurship, saysBiondi, "these members now have immediate access to a globalnetwork of peers."

To that end, the Russian YEO chapter is creating an exchangeprogram where Russian members will come to the United States forone week and spend time working in a similar U.S. YEO membercompany. Plans are also underway to open a second Russian YEO inSt. Petersburg.

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