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Vol 39  No 7
Dec. 14, 2006



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Pilot project connects student expertise with local entrepreneurs

by Pamela Gill

Participants in the Export Business Enhancement Pilot Project include, from left (back) Dan Mosher, business, SWGC; clients Bruce Bryne and Richard Butt; Mike Jackson, Gateway West; John Davis and Lana Bannister, Department of Innovation, Trade, and Rural Development; (front) Susan Vaughan, CIBS; and Grenfell students Lori Burke, Candice Mayo and Gord Hancock. (Photo by Pamela Gill)

A pilot project that ran this fall is proof that business students are an untapped resource for business development and expansion in western Newfoundland.
Titled the Export Business Enhancement Pilot Project, the initiative connected local businesses in the western region with the resources of Grenfell College and the Centre for International Business Studies (CIBS) on the St. John’s campus of Memorial.

Three Grenfell business students were matched with three clients of Gateway West, an enterprise and entrepreneurship program located at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. Grenfell business students Lori Burke, Candice Mayo, and Gord Hancock were paired with (respectively) Martin Hanzalek of My Newfoundland Adventures, Bruce Bryne, owner of a light manufacturing company, and Richard Butt of Newfoundland Properties Management.

“The process allowed the students to gain valuable ‘live case work’ experience through the application of their knowledge and skills, while the businesses benefited from the development of a plan to launch or expand export activity,” said Dan Mosher, professor of business at Grenfell College. “The students experience the process of market research as a tool to investigate global market opportunities and the entrepreneurs have a plan to follow or expand.”

As part of the project international students from CIBS travelled to the west coast to meet with the entrepreneurs and provide them with valuable advice for reaching their intended markets.

The perspectives of the 13 international business students who participated were invaluable, said Ms. Susan Vaughan, director of CIBS.
“Students participated from countries such as Germany, Romania, Russia, Denmark, Ireland and Norway,” she said. “They were unsure of how they could contribute, but after learning about the companies and participating in a brainstorming session, they saw the value in their contribution. They could bring their knowledge of culture as well as business practice to the table.”

Bruce Bryne, who also happens to work in Grenfell’s theatre department, is in the process of starting a light industrial manufacturing operation for large theatrical productions or conceptual structures.

“Newfoundland is a prime location for export to Europe,” he said. “I’m very passionate about what I do, but this project fueled my passion that much more.”

Plans are now in the works to further develop the program for future course offerings.


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