The world knows little about Belarusians. We are frequently mistaken for Russians and this is quite understandable: We have successfully forgotten our language, remember our history very selectively, and don’t know how to take pride in the things that we should. But its not all so bad, because the country’s image abroad is in the hands of some very reliable people.
The Belarusian mentality is a topic for much discussion and controversy. Unflattering anecdotes about Belarusians characterize them as overly patient, modest, self-effacing and intimidated. Events in recent years, however, justify greater faith in prosperous development. Some Belarusians, infectious for others, prove that our world is still filled with talented, intelligent, enterprising and original thinking people. BDG has independently rated young Belarusian businessmen who have conquered not only our country, but rocked the rest of the world as well.
1. Timofey Eremeev
Living ten years in the UK, Timofey Eremeev wasted no time organizing the company Permanent, set off last year. Engaged in roofing, but far from mundane, this company has patented its own waterproof, low-cost technology for laying slate. Such innovation has received attention at the highest level, not in Belarus, but in the UK. Queen Elizabeth II herself awarded the BSU graduate the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, one of the most prestigious designations in Britain.
2. Mikita Mikado
Belarusian Mikado co-founded start-up PandaDoc and company Quote Roller in the United States. PandaDoc attracted more than 650 thousand dollars from major investors in 2013 and continues to evolve today. Quote Roller helps to create, send and track quotations. Mikita and his entire team work in Silicon Valley, living in San Francisco.
3. Kirill Chikeyuk
Kirill Chikeyuk together with Artem Savenko launched Kino-mo, the startup that also produced Misty Albion and was recognized by the legendary Richard Branson. The project they offered received 150,000 pounds sterling in the competition “Pitch to Rich”. Both Chikeyuk and Savenko were born in Brest, Belarus and later went to study in the UK, but neither lives in Belarus currently. Their project – an image projected on the wheels of moving bicycles – was highly valued by investors.
4. Victor Sour
Without this name any ranking of Belarusian businessmen is incomplete. Anyone who does not know this businessman’s name can simply name his creation, and everything falls into place. “Wargaming” says it all, especially for gamers. Today wargaming.net develops free-to-play MMOs and gaming support services for different platforms. The most popular games: Operation “Bagration”, Order of War, World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, World of Warships and others. The main center is the company’s development in Minsk, headquartered in Cyprus
5. Victor Prokopenya
The founder of the Viaden Media companies and of exp (capital) has a strong reputation outside of Belarus, but this businessman has been detained. Many experts called the sensational arrest of Prokopenya a huge mistake by Belarusian authorities. Such actions, they say, affect the investment climate far greater than various ratings in which Belarus rises higher. Lip service to the ease of doing business and the loyalty of the state apparatus is fruitless, when successful businessmen are “taken” right from the workplace. Prokopenya’s arrest in March of 2015 was not made public until April. According to UK opinion, Prokopenya and his associates (and affected businessmen at UK Communications, as part of an organized criminal group) were engaged in the sale of IT technologies without state registration. Income from this activity was estimated at $650,000. Prokopenya was accused on the third part of the 233rd article of the Criminal Code, the punishment for which involves a prison sentence in 2-7 years with or without confiscation of property. Prokopenya partner Alexey Komko was condemned in May to a sentence of 6 years of intensive confinement with confiscation of property.
As can be seen from the above ranking, these young Belarusian businessmen are most commonly associated with the IT-sphere or innovations, and often decide to do business outside the country. Unfortunately, the last example in the ranking explains why: Business in Belarus is not always protected. Even if it brings surplus profits and is super important for the country’s image, business and government do not always understand each other.