Learning Entrepreneurship Through a Central American Lens
In June, INCAE Business School hosted the second annual Global Network for Advanced Management Unconference on Entrepreneurship in San Jose, Costa Rica. Nine Global Network schools were represented by deans, directors, and staff who assembled to learn about the developing entrepreneurial ecosystem of Costa Rica. They also collaborated on the ideas behind establishing the foundation for an entrepreneurship center and how to leverage the Global Network to strengthen individual entrepreneurial programs.
As members of the Global Network for Advanced Management, the 29 schools have a unique opportunity to experience networked learning at the highest global level. Network representatives explored entrepreneurship within the city of San José on the first day of the Unconference, starting with a visit to La Carpio, arguably one of Costa Rica’s poorest slums. The group then traveled to the venture capital firm Carao Ventures and to Mesoamerica, the leading private equity within Latin America, to learn more about the financing environment in the country. We were fascinated by the entrepreneurs in La Carpio, who, out of necessity, have to find innovative ways to build businesses while faced with extremely limited resources and who receive support and mentorship from an incredible social venture, SIFAIS. Additionally, we learned about some of the hurdles faced by local entrepreneurs when operating in a developing country. For example, the founders of Carao Ventures have had to tear through the red tape of Costa Rican government permit-granting systems, among other logistical roadblocks. The conference allowed faculty to experience these environments first-hand and add to their own knowledge of how entrepreneurship is handled around the world.
While learning directly from entrepreneurs across a range of industries and contexts, the Global Network delegates struck up conversations about sharing university-specific resources with one another. The discussions were empowering: the collective Global Network has incredible resources at our disposal, and it is up to each school to seek out collaborators and teammates to bring the schools more closely together. Participants focused on a few key questions: How do we empower entrepreneurs? What do they need to thrive? What types of physical spaces are most conducive for innovation and implementing new ideas?
One outcome of last year’s Unconference on Entrepreneurship at Technion Israel Institute of Technology was that Matthias Tietz, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at IE Business School, developed and taught the “High Tech Entrepreneurship” Global Network course. This year, the outcomes of the Unconference were more focused on partnerships and event collaborations. Jennifer McFadden of the Yale School of Management and Rhonda Shrader of Berkeley Haas began discussing and planning for a joint Yale SOM-Haas summit for the spring of 2018. Félix Florencio Cárdenas del Castillo of EGADE Business School invited the group to attend INCmty, sponsored in part by EGADE. Network schools also look forward to planning virtual pitch competitions and hackathons for the students to collaborate and innovate. We along with our colleagues left Costa Rica feeling inspired and energized by the passionate entrepreneurial spirit seen across the Network.
Patricia Resio, a staff member at Yale SOM's Program on Entrepreneurship, attended the second annual Global Network for Advanced Management Unconference on Entrepreneurship at INCAE Business School in June.