FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2005
Contact: Shelley Kean
(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell was a guest speaker for Capilano College at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel on March 3 where he addressed faculty, partners and participants gathered in Vancouver for the North American Consortium for Entrepreneurship (NACE) program.
NACE is a student exchange program between Canada, the United States and Mexico that was established last year to develop young entrepreneurs and enable them to take advantage of business opportunities across the North American countries. As part of the program, students from the three countries have been attending bachelor of business administration classes at Capilano College since January of this year.
At a reception hosted by the Capilano College School of Business, Campbell emphasized to a crowd of approximately 100 people the importance of experiencing other societies.
“When we open up our cultures, we have an incredible advantage over those who don’t,” he told the group, which was comprised of members of Vancouver’s business community, consulars, faculty and student participants who are benefiting from this unique partnership. “Entrepreneurs with this type of experience look at the world in different ways.”
Member institutions of NACE include:
· In Canada: Capilano College in North Vancouver, B.C. (the lead Canadian institution) and the University of Montreal.
· In the United States: California State University in San Bernardino, California and Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, Georgia.
· In Mexico: Universidad de Guadalajara in Zapopan, Jalisco (the second largest educational institution in Mexico) and the Centre de Ensefianza y Superior (CETYS) University System in Mexicalia, Baja.
Government agencies in the three countries provide financial support for 10 students from each of the partner institutions over a four-year period. In Canada, Human Resources Canada offers a $3,500 scholarship to selected students to study for one term at a host institution.
“Students learn how entrepreneurship is practiced in different countries through studying and working at a North American post-secondary institution,” says Capilano College dean of business, Catherine Vertesi. “They share the classroom and their cultures with like-minded students from Canada, the United States and Mexico who have an in interest in international trade.”
Through hands-on experience with local businesses, accompanied by formal coursework, students will come away with valuable knowledge about the challenges and opportunities presented by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Each term, the program will be hosted at a different NACE member institution where students will study entrepreneurship in a North American context. All students enrol in four or more courses.
The exchange program began in September 2004 at California State University. This term, Capilano College is the host, followed by the University of Guadalajara in August 2005, Kennesaw University in January 2006, the University of Montreal in September 2006 and CETYS, Mexicali in January 2007.
Fourth-year Capilano College bachelor of business student, Rebecca Davies, participated in the first exchange group that attended California State University last year. She said the program was a life-changing experience.
“It opened my eyes to another culture that is close to home,” she said. “You don’t realize how different people are in the United States, even though we live only an hour from their border. We think we’re the same, but we’re not.”
Sylvia Vidrio is a 20-year-old business student from Mexicali, Mexico who is attending Capilano College this term. Born in Guadalajara, Vidrio says that over the past two months she has learned how much cultures matter.
“The language, the traditions, they are all different,” she said. “In Mexico, we thought Americans and Canadians were the same, but now I know they’re not.
“I noticed several main differences between the people of the two counties,” she explained. “For example, Canadians are more concerned with environmental issues and they want to be seen as distinct from their American neighbours.”
During the term, faculty from all institutions gather to share ideas, approaches and experiences with the NACE students. Participants join the regular classes of the host institution and learn from local businesses first-hand through special events involving guests from the local business and diplomatic community. On Thursday, they gathered together to honour their achievements, partners and students.
“Thank you to all the institutions for building the bridges for students,” Campbell said. “It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together in a way that’s open and respectful.”
Capilano College Bachelor of Business Administration students in their third or fourth year are eligible to apply for the program. They should plan to complete their last term at Capilano College.
A good academic standing is required to participate, along with some knowledge of Spanish and French. All students must have completed introductory course work in accounting, finance, organizational behavior, marketing, business law and introductory entrepreneurship. Students apply by filling out an application form found at www.capilanou.ca/programs/studyabroad/forms.html.
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