On Wednesday, May 31, business leaders from across the region met at the Santos Manuel Student Union Theater at California State University, San Bernardino, to meet virtually and in person with commercial diplomats and entrepreneurs from six Latin American and Caribbean nations. As a part of CSUSB's Global Access Program, this event was co-sponsored by the Inland Empire Center for International Trade Development, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the CSUSB-Center For Global Management, and the Global Research Institute of International Trade (GRIIT).
The six nations that were represented at the conference included Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Panama. Representatives from the Export-Import Bank also gave a presentation on how they can help businesses export their goods and services overseas. While most representatives joined the conference through online video chat, the Head Consul of Mexico in San Bernardino, Salomon Rosas, came in person to present the business opportunities available in his country. Each representative gave a report of which industries had the best opportunities available and members of the audience were able to ask questions as well.
At the same time business leaders were chatting with diplomats and international business representatives, student seniors from CSUSB's business program presented market entry research they had completed on behalf of companies across Southern California. Andrew Sentaro, Hang Bui, Brenda Guillen, and Nathan Menting were one of those groups. Working with Ginger Shots, an energy drink company in Huntington Beach, these students researched market entry strategies for energy drinks in Mexico. "GAP really helped me see what it means for a company to go overseas," said Brenda Guillen. Nathan Menting said, "The GAP program gave me a good look into professional programs as well."
Dr. Vipin Gupta, the Associate Dean of the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, praised Wednesday's event. "We wanted GAP to connect students with businesses and international opportunities. Each Student's talent needs room to grow and these collaborations with overseas partners are designed to give them connections." Speaking about Wednesday's event, Dr. Gupta said, "This was the best GAP event we have organized in its four year history. Over 200 companies participated virtually or in person."
Dr. Frank Lin, the Co-Director of CSUSB's Center for Global Management also had high praise for the conference. "We started four years ago with Paul Smith from SBA and Robert Corona from CITD," he said. "We've been innovating with new components and faculty supervisors ever since. All particpants were positive about the forum and networking opportunities available. I am very pleased and, hopefully, next year will be bigger and better."
Dr. Sarita Jackson, the President and CEO of the Global Research Institute of International Trade and an Adjunct Professor at CSUSB, presented her idea for customized market research that businesses could take away from the conference at the beginning of this year's program. Leading two capstone sections on market research herself, Dr. Jackson was very impressed with the students' progress. "The work was very awesome," she said. "Some students were not as familiar with international trade at first. Their progress by the end was very awesome." Looking ahead to the next GAP series, Dr. Jackson said, "I would like to take it to another level by keeping track of companies who received market research to see how they are progressing."