CENTER FOR ECONOMIC INITIATIVES (CEI)
Board of Trustees
CEI is governed by a Board of Trustees who meet regularly throughout the year.
The following are Associate Trustees:
Alexander Etlin Samuel M Harrell John H. Kuhn Jerry S. Lafferty Julia C. Stephen, CPA Edward M. Watson
Charles W. Weiss, Jr. Ph.D.
Areas of expertise
Manufacturing and machine tools
Power plant operation and energy distribution
General business and accounting
Health Care Administration
Food processing and distribution
The Center for Economic Initiatives (CEI) uses unique and highly successful economic development know-how, based on an updated Marshall Plan technical assistance approach to increase living standards rapidly.
We are the only organization with these unique capabilities. They can be used in African and other impoverished countries and have been highly effective in recent years assisting industry and farms in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Moldova. The original Marshall Plan used this technical assistance approach to rapidly increase productivity and living standards. This assisted in many underdeveloped countries, including Taiwan, South Korea, Sudan, Iceland, Greece, Iran, and Turkey as well as in Western Europe.
There are two main areas in which CEI is focusing its activities:
- Support for smallholder or subsistence farmers.
- Marshall Plan-type technology missions
One of CEI’s main areas of focus concerns upgrading the economic welfare of smallholder farmers in Latin America and Africa. Here short-cycle cash crops are introduced for export to the United States. This technology can be transferred to Africa for substantially similar exports to Western Europe and elsewhere. This appears to be one of the most promising approaches to these farmers in Africa.
CEI conducts Marshall Plan-type technology missions (study tours) to the United States. This program is ideally suited to be a component of any Clinton Foundation program as it is aimed directly at economic development. Our success in Ukraine confirms that our program of technical assistance is highly applicable in today’s business environment.
CEI economic development missions are modeled on the technical assistance program of the original Marshall Plan. In fact, our active advisor is James Silberman, who created and implemented the Marshall Plan’s technical assistance program in the 1940s. Our main objective is to raise living standards, and we have been very successful in meeting this objective.
In brief, this is how the technology mission program works. We bring decision makers to the United States to see how industry, agriculture, and government operate and open their eyes to new possibilities. People learn best by seeing for themselves what works. They learn about new technologies, products and services that may present opportunities at home. New procedures can reduce costs and improve productivity. For many, they will see more clearly industry trends and changes, thus helping to make decisions regarding the future direction of their organization. In effect, they will have a look into a future that is possible for them.
Most of our efforts to date have been directed at Ukraine although we have also worked with Kazakhstan and Moldova. With Mr. Silberman’s guidance, we have conducted 17 training missions for Ukraine. These were financed by USAID, and results prove that this was one of their most successful programs.
CEI’s economic development missions have brought great benefits to Ukraine.
· CEI has brought 280 Ukrainian business leaders to the U.S. to learn modern management, technology and marketing methods.
· CEI has more first-hand knowledge of the needs of Ukrainian industry and agriculture than any other U.S. organization. Much of this experience is transferable to other developing countries.
· The benefits/cost ratio of CEI programs has been calculated at 18:1. We believe this is outstanding and ultimately the best return on invested dollars of any program implemented there.
· During the 3 years CEI was assisting Kharkiv agriculture, that region moved from 16th place (out of 26) in Ukraine to the top three.
· Through its programs and website (www.ukrainebiz.com), CEI has generated trade opportunities for both Ukraine and the U.S.
· CEI keeps in touch with its Ukrainian participants and offers advice when requested.
· CEI programs have created a favorable image of everyone involved.
USAID has recognized the benefits of this program and made a 17-minute DVD describing it which is viewable on this website. In addition to historical information about the Marshall Plan technical assistance program, there are three case studies from CEI study tours.
Capability & Achievements
Founded in 1995 by business leaders in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Center for Economic Initiatives (CEI) is a leading economic development organization in the areas of education, training, economic growth, and small/medium business development. CEI engages professionals who work on a wide range of projects around the world. CEI has been at the forefront in the application of Marshall Plan type productivity, technology advancement, and Economic Development Missions (MP-EDM) programs (a.k.a. study tours) for developing nations in a range of sustainable development efforts, which improve industrial, agriculture and governmental access to knowledge, expand economic opportunities, and increase standards of living. More information about CEI can be found on our Website.
Economic Development and Technical Assistance are not simply current buzzwords at CEI. They are integrated into the entire fabric of our organizational infrastructure and projects. We view technical assistance not as an end in itself, but as an important tool to help achieve goals in a broad range of areas. The nature of CEI technical assistance varies from project to project, depending on the needs of users and participants, the cultural setting, and the resources available. Our work in several countries including Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Moldova has taught us about the strengths and weaknesses involved in applying different technologies in various settings. Our overall approach is based on the principle of examining the needs of the developing country and resources in order to determine the best plan to meet a specific goal or solve a problem. Our commitment is to develop user-oriented programs to ensure that solutions are practical, cost effective, and implementable.
CEI has the combined capacity of consulting firms and the technical assistance experience of the Marshall Plan and predecessor USAID agencies. The specific areas of CEI’s experience and technical competence include: agriculture, construction, manufacturing, enterprise marketing, management structures and decision making, information technology, training for small/medium business development, the provision of technical assistance and the conduct of assessments and monitoring and evaluation studies.
Marshall Plan type Economic Development Missions (MP-EDM)
CEI is the leading organization replicating the highly successful technical assistance methods of the Marshall Plan. Industry and government leaders in targeted sectors of the economy are selected to visit and discuss with their U.S. peers the procedures, technology and techniques, of their industry. This effectively gives them an insight into the future which enables them to jump-start their enterprises based on directly learned expert knowledge and experience. MP-EDM assists developing countries to strengthen enterprise systems, improve quality, expand options, and enhance civil equity through carefully planned applications of information and technology. Through training, technical assistance,
design, and development of knowledge products and implementation of pilot projects, CEI expands the economic opportunities of industry, agriculture, and government. After each MP-EDM, CEI conducts an analysis of industry conditions and assists participants develop and implements projects that bring the lessons of the program to bear on improving the reach and quality of goods and services for under-served populations, with gender equity as a priority throughout.
A few of the key features of this program for Ukraine and Kazakhstan include:
Participants are selected by CEI professionals with industry experience.
In Ukraine, an 18:1 benefit/cost ratio was attained in 2 years; making this program one of the most efficient means to enhance living standards and competitiveness.
Each returned participant disseminated learned information to over 300 in their industry
Participants prepare a technical report of the program to help with program dissemination.
Most missions result in the formation of industry associations
Manage Trade Promotion Programs to the USA
CEI has partnered with the Academy for Educational Development (AED) to organize and conduct exhibitions (trade promotion shows) in the U.S. which foster intensive interaction and promote discussions between manufacturers and sellers. Only through this intensive dialog can firms in developing countries learn what a U.S. buyer or investor expects with regard to product quality, services offered, development goals, promotional materials and techniques, and financial transactions.
This initiative has resulted in establishing a closer cultural and technical relationship between Ukraine and the U.S. and the formation of the Ohio/Kharkiv Sister State Organization.
Trade Capacity Building (TCB) on the Internet in Ukraine
A major strand of CEI’s work in technology over the past decade has involved the use of the Internet to promote trade opportunities for SMEs. CEI has fostered the use of the Internet to promote trade between Ukraine and other nations worldwide by establishing and maintaining the website www.ukrainebiz.com.
Since 1997 over 95,000 people have visited the website, or 200 per week, generating more than 20 inquiries per week, some of which result in sales or investment opportunities for Ukrainian companies. The result is a strengthening of the SMEs which in turn stimulate job creation at the local level.
As an example of this project, Ukrainian manufacturers have developed new capabilities and products which have lead to contracts in Brazil, the U.S., and elsewhere.
Internships for Moldovan Industry Leaders
Under a World Bank sponsored program, CEI has partnered with the German NGO organization Rationalizierungs-Kuratorium der Deutschen Wirtschaft (RKW) to provide intensive, on-the-job training for leading Moldovan business leaders. As a result, enterprises have been able to expand their markets and build stronger organizations within Moldova.