The Service Sector Is Serving Russia Well

Valery Samodurov smelled opportunity when he kept hearing Russian entrepreneurs bellyache about their catch-22: New private banks wouldn't grant credit without a government loan guarantee, but such guarantees were available only to state-run enterprises. So Samodurov, the former head of a construction cooperative, founded Megapolis Insurance Co. in his home town of Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains. "We just used our heads and figured out what kind of insurance local businesses needed," says the 42-year-old Samodurov. That was three years ago. Now ,his company has 50 employees selling insurance through 35 branch offices across Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union.

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