Russian entrepreneurs glean business insight at CIU

October 05, 2018

By Bob Holmes

Columbia International University alumnus Matt Beyer and businessman Pavel Busygin have a lot in common. They both own coffee shops. About the only difference between their shops is the print on their menus. Beyer’s is in English. Busygin’s is in Russian.

Beyer owns Grace Coffee with two Columbia, South Carolina locations. Busygin’s five shops, Perfetto Café, are in Russia, near Moscow.

Beyer and Busygin were introduced to each other outside Beyer’s Grace Coffee shop in CIU’s Rossi Student Center where they exchanged bags of their specialty coffees. Busygin was in Columbia with five other Russian entrepreneurs as part of a U.S. State Department effort called the Open World Leadership Center, an exchange program that matches citizens of the former Soviet Union with their professional counterparts in the United States. They were hosted on the CIU campus by Professor Scott Adams, the dean of the School of Business & Professional Studies, where he discussed the CIU Business programs and the business climate in South Carolina.

Busygin said he has been impressed with what he calls “the positive thinking” of Americans and wants to know more. 

“How do they think, how do they start a business, how is it different from us?” Busygin said.

Meanwhile, also in the Student Center, Russian businesswoman Anastasia Nikolaeva was introduced to CIU Business major David Elliott who shares a common interest with her — fashion. While Elliott is developing his credentials as a fashion consultant at Elliott Haberdashery, Nikolaeva owns Maison N20 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, specializing in luxury outerwear.

“I want to export my products to Europe and the USA,” Nikolaeva said in near-perfect English with help of a translator. “I’m looking for interesting contacts and many interesting people who are doing this business for collaboration.”

Each one of the Russian visitors presented Professor Adams with a uniquely Russian gift before leaving. And each wanted a photo taken with him. Nikolaeva made sure her photo with Adams included one of her products. She wrapped him in a luxury fox fur worth $5,000.  

Excitement is building on the CIU campus with a dramatic increase in enrollment and on-campus expansion. Information on enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.