Russian students visit Purdue, Purdue Research Park to spark entrepreneurial learning

July 17, 2012  

Tim Peoples and Russian students

Tim Peoples, at right, director of Purdue Technology Centers of West Lafayette, discusses the business plan idea of Russian students Aneliya Filatova and Ivan Korsokov at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. Filatova, Korsokov and eight other Russian undergraduate students are at Purdue this month through the Yegor Gaidar Summer Leadership Program, a joint project between the Yegor Gaidar Foundation and U.S. Russian Foundation. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A group of Russian undergraduate students are spending most of this month at Purdue University to expand their understanding of how to take a creative idea and turn it into a viable business venture.

Ten students from the Yegor Gaidar Summer Leadership Program will tour Purdue's research facilities, technology transfer offices and business incubators. Meetings are planned to discuss potential collaborations with researchers in Discovery Park and elsewhere on campus, as well as graduate students, faculty members and entrepreneurs at Purdue Research Park.

Discovery Park leaders have planned meetings with Purdue student entrepreneurs and faculty, as well as graduate students, faculty members and entrepreneurs at Purdue Research Park. The program provides opportunities for Purdue students and these competitively selected Russian students to exchange cultural information and discuss entrepreneurship with a global perspective.

The students also will work in teams on a business case to commercialize a new or enhanced product. Teams will determine the best way to establish a startup by developing a business plan, building a management team, identifying capital needs and creating a marketing strategy.

"This entrepreneurship program is a great opportunity for the Russian undergraduate students to experience entrepreneurship in the United States," said Joseph Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation. "In addition, the three-week program represents an important collaboration among Purdue and Russian students and leaders to learn best business practices from each other."

The program, funded by the U.S. Russia Foundation and the Yegor Gaidar Foundation, culminates when the Russian students will deliver business-plan presentations on their ideas from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, July 27, in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 129.

A formal reception to recognize the Russian students also is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, in the Hall for Discovery and Learning Research, First Floor Atrium. Purdue aeronautics and astronautics professor Alina Alexeenko, a native of Russia, is the keynote speaker for the event. She received bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Novosibirsk State University before gaining her doctorate degree in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

"The enthusiasm of these young Russian students is contagious, as they access the many resources focused on entrepreneurship here at Purdue and through the Purdue Research Park," said Alan H. Rebar, executive director of Discovery Park and senior associate vice president for research at Purdue. "We see benefits in terms of large university global partnerships with Russia. They learn from us and we learn, as well, from these entrepreneurially minded Russian students."

The students' business plan project is modeled after the Purdue Research Park Entrepreneurship Academy, a program established in 2007 that introduces young people to the world of entrepreneurship. The program is operated by the Purdue Research Foundation and managed by Tim Peoples, director of Purdue Technology Centers of West Lafayette, and Juliana Spiker, academy coordinator.

As part of the program, Alya Rahmatullina, who handles editorial and website content responsibilities for the U.S. Russian Foundation, will participate in a two-week marketing and media training workshop, led by Purdue Marketing & Media and Discovery Park. Rahmatullina, who joined the U.S. Russian Foundaiton in early 2011, holds a linguistics degree from Moscow State Pedagogical University and is working on her doctorate degree in linguocultural studies.

"The world is getting smaller and smaller, and this has provided Purdue with a terrific opportunity for exchanging information and creating substantive partnerships," said Candiss Vibbert, associate director for the Discovery Park Office of Engagement who has worked with the EURECA project since its inception in 2009.

A new Russian federal law gave Russian universities control over their intellectual property in 2009, allowing for the creation of small companies on campuses. This action dovetails with the U.S. Bayh-Dole Act, signed into law in 1980.

The Yegor Gaidar Summer Leadership Program is a joint project between the Yegor Gaidar Foundation and U.S. Russian Foundation, designed to assist Russian undergraduate students with the knowledge, skills and practical experience in the area of economic and business development, with a focus on economics and entrepreneurship.

The U.S. Russia Foundation is working to support the long-term economic development of Russia's economy, working closely with the Russian government and leading Russian institutions. In this way, the foundation seeks to build strong ties between the United States and Russia.

In addition to this program, the U.S. Russia Foundation is funding the Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity, or EURECA, program. In addition to Purdue, that collaboration includes the universities of California-Los Angeles, Maryland and Washington, and a consortium of program operators.

Purdue projects through EURECA, which was launched in 2009, are focusing on ways to determine the value of university-led intellectual property, faculty and student exchanges, joint incubators and technology centers, venture capital participation in student startups, technology transfer certification programs, and incubation of professional tech-transfer associations.

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

                Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340,

Sources:  Joseph Hornett, 765-494-8645,

                   Alan Rebar, 765-496-6625,

                   Candiss Vibbert, 765-494-9404,

                  Tim Peoples, 765-494-8645,

Related Website:

Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

American Councils for International Education

Note to Journalists: Reporters interested in arranging interviews with the Russian students or would like more specific details about their itinerary while visiting Purdue can contact Phillip Fiorini of the Purdue News Service at 765-496-3133,, or Cynthia Sequin of the Purdue Research Park at 765-588-3340,

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