Ideas, as the saying goes, are a dime a dozen. But entrepreneurs who have already established a business are truly poised for success.
That’s why the Digicel “Entrepreneur of the Year” program, which helps Haitian entrepreneurs, had a particular focus for 2014: the telecommunications operator sought to provide intellectual resources to entrepreneurs who are in the second stage of building stable corporations.
Once again, the College of Business at Florida International University (FIU) was selected to host the three-day Haiti Retreat, held from November 19- 21, 2014. This year’s program was titled: “Growth from Take-Off to Corporation.”
Twenty-four Haitian CEOs and entrepreneurs selected as finalists for the title of 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year and three former winners traveled to FIU for the event. The program was conducted by FIU’s Office of Executive and Professional Education (EPE), which also hosted the program in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The business person who has earned the title of 2014 Digicel Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced in mid-December.
Program gives entrepreneurs information and encouragement.
Entrepreneurs attending the program included founders of a restaurant, a computer electronics school, a poultry business, a dance studio and other varied, successful businesses in Haiti.
“The program’s emphasis was on growth — finding growth opportunities and designing growth strategies,” said Natalie Dwarika, EPE program coordinator, International Programs. “The agenda was packed with motivation and practical knowledge for the entrepreneurs to take their company to its second stage.”
Dileep Rao, clinical professor in FIU’s Department of Management & International Business, served as faculty director and conducted workshops each day. In his class, Professor Stephen Barnett of the Department of Marketing discussed practical marketing strategies for growth.
College of Business Dean David Klock shared with attendees his own personal story as the former CEO for CompBenefits, one of the nation’s leading dental and vision benefits companies.
Also serving as program faculty was Haitian economist Kesner Pharel who discussed financial strategies right for Haiti and successful entrepreneur Lloyd Sigel, an instructor at various Minnesota universities.
“The participants have such passion for their businesses,” said Dwarika. “They had abundant eagerness to gain as much knowledge as possible to grow their operations.”