The Belarus Business Environment as Assessed by the Management of Leading Finnish Companies Operating in the Country
Inward foreign investment stock has grown remarkably in Belarus. It increased tenfold since 2000 to reach over $14 billion by the end of 2012. According to the Central Bank of Belarus, Finnish firms have invested nearly $100 million in Belarus making Finland the sixteenth most active foreign investor in the country. Approximately 7,000 companies with foreign capital were registered in Belarus by the beginning of 2013. Finnish companies founded three dozen of these foreign firms. A lack of scientific reports on the perception of foreign businesspeople in the Belarusian business environment necessitated an empirical study. This article studies the attitudes of the directors of Finnish firms operating in Belarus on the Belarusian business environment. In September-October 2013, the author conducted interviews with directors of 10 Finnish corporations. The PEST model was used to describe the perception of the Belarusian business milieu by Finnish businesspeople. The main empirical finding can be summarised by quoting a Finnish CEO, “Belarus is like any other market on the globe with the exception that foreign firms do not want to attract publicity about their activities in the country due to the poor public image of Belarus.”
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