On September 20, 2023 the Association of Belarusian Business Abroad (ABBA) held the III Belarusian Business Forum in Warsaw. This event was organized with the financial support of the European Union and USAID. More than 200 participants from 10 countries took part in the forum, including well-known Belarusian businesspeople, experts from Europe and the USA, representatives of government structures and foreign business.

At the forum, a road map on institutional cooperation between ABBA and the US Department of Commerce was signed. We celebrate this landmark event and sincerely believe that our cooperation will bring fruitful results for the benefit of the Belarusian business community abroad. We agreed on several areas of joint activities. One of them is support for the development of ABBA as an effective, transparent, sustainable business association. The second one is support to ABBA in strategic cooperation with such organizations as the American Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, assistance with financial consultations. Third pillar is elaboration of economic reform projects for the new Belarus.

The Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland, Vasyl Zvarych, who was invited to the forum, but could not attend in person, addressed the participants of the forum in his letter to ABBA. “I wish You and all the guests of the Forum to realize the goals of the event and build a sustainable, democratic and free Belarusian environment at home and abroad. I am deeply convinced that thanks to the solidarity between Belarusians and Ukrainians, we will achieve the desired victory,” Mr. Zvarych wrote in the letter.

A well-known Ukrainian political scientist, historian and journalist Yevhen Mahda, PhD, joined ABBA as a Strategic Communications Advisor.
Tszwai So,
founder of Spheron Architects, AIA UK Young Architect of the Year (2017), passionate admirer of Belarusian architecture and art, also joined ABBA as an Advisor on Architecture and Art. Memorandums of cooperation with the advisers were signed.

Inspirational speeches were given at the “Success Stories from Belarus” section by the founder and co-owner of tribuna.com Dmitriy Navosha, head of Wialon at Gurtam Aliaksandr Kuushynau, programmer and blogger Aliaksei Kartynnik (known as ITBeard), co-founder and managing partner of CleanWhale Aleksander Lukashou.

The results of a study on issues of Belarusian business abroad were presented. The research was conducted by the Center for New IdeasCenter for Social and Economic Research CASE and ABBA. The results show that reasons for the migration of Belarusians are changing, but the high potential of entrepreneurial activity remains. 35% of businessmen plan to return to Belarus after the democratic changes. The main problems for business migrants include special requirements for foreigners, lack of knowledge about business rules and opportunities in the host country, and common challenges of new business (developing business connections, searching for partners, hiring employees, attracting clients). The presentation was followed by a discussion about reformation and development of the Belarusian economy after the democratic changes, needed to encourage Belarusians and their businesses to return to or invest in the new Belarus. See the presentation on the results of the research here.

The forum brought together Belarusian business diaspora and demonstrated the potential of Belarusian business to foreign partners. A constructive and fruitful dialogue was held with the representatives of the governments of Poland, the United States and the European Union. The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Polish Chamber of Commerce, Warsaw Stock Exchange, US Department of Commerce, banks, and other financial institutions present at the event noted the high level of work of ABBA and testified to their friendliness towards the Belarusian business community and affirmed the need for its support.

The forum became a great networking opportunity. The participants shared their plans and ideas for cooperation.

At the forum, it was announced that the 1st Belarusian Business Forum in Washington will be held in early 2024.