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A non-profit organization called the International Bank of Ideas has been set up in Moscow by Sergei S Agapitov. It contains data on ideas and inventions by Russians in the scientific and cultural spheres.

The idea to create this bank came to Sergei Agapitov in 1988 when George Soros came to Moscow. Soros proposed setting up a Cultural Initiative Foundation to provide financial support for original projecis. This money will not be a loan, but a "gift" for a budding business-person Soros liked Sergey Aapitov's project and gave him a grant of R100.000 and three computers.


The bank's databases contain more than l0.000 ideas and projects on ecology, culture, medicine, science and sport. All ideas are accepted. Each inventor receives a registration card and a reference number. The bank then seeks to protect the rights to their ideas.

When the couniry embarked on the path to a market economy, the public mentality had to undergo substantial change. Ideas are now geared towards business needs or commerce and numerous technological proiects have emerged which require capital investment. The bank provides support for the most interesting ones. One of the beneficiaries is the Zemlya (Land) association, headed by a former submarine commander. It is a model farm on 100 square kilometres of rented land. The Progress firm in Bobruisk is another client. Its unique technology is used in Finland and Germany. The car rally, Europe Without Frontiers, involving business-people, was sponsored by the Bank of Ideas.


Some may wonder how the Bank of Ideas supports others when it is a non-profit organization with no money of its own. The Bank has signed an agreement with the American public foundation 22nd Century to open a business library in Moscow. The Americans have provided the literature free of charge. It has United States' laws, marketing and business textbooks,reference material on American companies and database on compact disc containing information on 100.000 american manufacturers. In United States there are more than 30.000 foundations and about 200.000 public and non-profit organisations - so assisstance of this kind is normal. The Bank of ideas collaborates with similar foundations through the world. It is connected to international computer network that gives any user in the world access to its ideas. "Our clients are mainly our businessmen who have earned their first million and who want to find partners," says Sergei Agapitov."They deposit information about their companies in the computer network or use it to search for information on suitable partners."

In conjunction with the Civic Initiative Centre in San Francisco the Bank of Ideas has set up a club that considers requests from up-and-coming Russian businessmen for training in the United States.Prospective candidates have to provide a list of their business accomplishments in Russia and if they are judged to be impressive enough candidates are sent to work in an American company for one month.We have established a way your launch all types of projects - business, technological, and humanitarian," says Sergei Agapitov.


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