IU Kelley School of Business awarded $1.35 million USAID grant to spur entrepreneurship in Barbados
March 9, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Kelley School of Business has been awarded a $1.35 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education for Development (HED) to help the Caribbean nation of Barbados stimulate the creation of new companies there.
The Kelley School's new Institute for International Business (IIB) will administer the grant. Faculty in the Kelley School and its Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will work closely with colleagues at the University of the West Indies' Cave Hill School of Business (CHSB) to develop a comprehensive entrepreneurship program for MBAs and other instructional efforts for undergraduate students and current and prospective entrepreneurs.
"Barbados has very strong national goals to be a leader in entrepreneurship in the next five to 10 years," said Bruce Jaffee, IU professor of business economics and public policy and director of the IIB. "They feel that with a good location and a reasonably educated labor force that they can be a hub for entrepreneurship activity in the region. There is a decent base of entrepreneurial activity there. They're not starting from ground zero.
"We very quickly can accelerate their development and have a significant impact on institution building, adding value for faculty at Cave Hill and assisting with curriculum development, ultimately spurring entrepreneurship activity in the region," added Jaffee, the principal investigator on the project.
Barbados' economy historically has been bolstered by the production of sugar cane. But recent increased competition has come from growers in other countries -- it is grown in more than 110 countries -- and has affected prices worldwide. Another key industry, tourism, also has suffered in recent years.
The Barbadian government hopes to double the number of annual business start-ups by 2016, from 13,000 to 26,000.
Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School, noted that the business school has been extensively involved in similar social entrepreneurship projects around the world, including in Eastern Europe and Baltic Republics after the fall of communism.
"What I like about this project is that it leverages one of the key areas of national, if not international strength, at the Kelley School, namely entrepreneurship," Smith said. "This is an opportunity for us as an institution to showcase one of our great programs in an international setting and contribute to raising the quality of life for many in another part of the world."
Kelley School faculty have laid out several initiatives to pursue in the short term:
- Consult with the Cave School of Business in establishing an entrepreneurship program within its MBA program, by advising the school on adding and restructuring current courses.
- Help the Cave School of Business to create a diploma program, consisting of about a half dozen applied and practical courses, that would be geared to young people right out of high school who want to start a business within a year.
- Create a certificate program for people who already have started a business, to provide them with specific instruction once a week that is tailored to their unique needs. People will learn more about applied topics such as finance, marketing and dealing with regulatory issues. Networking will be another key component.
- Creating internships for students and mentoring activities.
- Prepare case studies that involve and apply directly to Caribbean companies.
Mark Long, a faculty member at Kelley and former president and chief executive officer at the IU Research and Technology Corp., has been working with Jaffee on the project. He will work with about a half dozen government supported organizations in Barbados to establish a new incubator for start-up firms on the island.
Jaffee expressed appreciation for support received from IU's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), which is, like the IU Center on International Business Education and Research, a Title VI National Resource Center.
The grant was announced as part of a joint USAID-HED initiative, Job Opportunity for Business Start-Ups (JOBS), which aims to grow a more entrepreneurial culture and diversify the service-oriented economies in the Eastern Caribbean. Cave Hill has operations on several other Caribbean islands, including the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and St. Lucia, and also uses distance learning tools.
The Kelley School was chosen from among about 25 different entities that expressed an interest in the project and from among eight formal proposals. "The comments, evaluations and scores that came from the outside reviewers were very positive. I think a lot of that reflects on our experience with USAID grants and the fantastic reputation of the Johnson Center," Jaffee said.
"A keystone of USAID's cooperation program for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean is to advance economic development through entrepreneurship," said James Goggin, the agency's Barbados representative. "We are excited and honored to be forming this new partnership with the University of the West Indies and Indiana University, which will combine the energies of these institutions to address the challenge of creating new business opportunities in Barbados and its neighboring countries, especially for Caribbean young people."
"So often, we hear about youth building our future. The JOBS initiative is an investment in that idea. This plan for improved education coupled with practical internships and mentoring from the business community can nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of students and young working professionals," said HED Executive Director Tully Cornick.
About the U.S. Agency for International Development
The American people, through the United States Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information, visit www.usaid.gov.
About Higher Education for Development
Higher Education for Development mobilizes the expertise and resources of the higher education community to address global development challenges. HED manages a competitive awards process to access expertise with the higher education community in coordination with the American Council on Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. For more information about HED, visit www.HEDprogram.org.