Cincinnati, Ohio — September 16, 1997) The Center for Economic Initiatives (CEI) is implementing a pilot project to assist Ukrainian industries based on ideas from the Marshall Plan, the U.S. government’s economic and technical assistance program which helped rebuild Europe after World War II
CEI, a not-for profit organization formed by a group of Cincinnati businessmen, was recently awarded a $345,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to fund the project.
Lee Cole, a retired computer company executive and president of the Center for Economic Initiatives, is leading the project. Cole and Jim Silberman, creator of the original Marshall Plan’s technical assistance visited Ukraine two years ago and developed the basis for the new program.
They decided to model their program on the Marshall Plan, which pioneered the targeting of a single industry as the best way to rapidly expose managers to new ideas.
“People come to an understanding of the functioning of a market economy best by seeing for themselves what works,” notes Cole.
CEI’s Marshall Plan Study Tours will initially focus on providing technical assistance in two of Ukraine’s most important industries: the processing of meat, dairy and edible oil products and the processing of fruits and vegetables.
The pilot project will target businesses in the Kharkiv area, a city of 1.6 million residents.
Cole and Radislaw Donn, a consultant who worked with Silberman on the original Marshall Plan, will leave for Ukraine in two weeks. They will then begin the process of selecting the key industry managers who can most benefit from a study tour of U.S. companies in similar industries.
Sixteen industrial managers from the Ukraine will be selected to participate in the first pilot group. They will take part in a four-week program in the United States next spring to see first-hand how companies use marketing and productivity to improve living standards and provide lower cost consumer products.
A second group of sixteen Ukrainian managers will follow in early summer.
Both groups will start their tours in Cincinnati and then visit industrial companies within the Midwest.
Upon their return to Ukraine, the tour members will disseminate the information they have learned to others in the industry. This will be done through seminars or lectures and through the distribution of a written report of their observations.
CEI hopes that the two pilot study tours will be the first of many targeting Ukrainian industries.