CHILEAN ENTREPRENEURIAL DELEGATION VISIT
JANUARY 21-23, 2020
The College of Staten Island hosted a delegation of eleven SMEs from Chile. The CSI Small Business Development Center, along with the Center for Global Engagement provided a three-day program, January 21-23, consisting of intensive business training and immersion into the United States business practices.
The event was organized through Skype sessions by SBDC Director, Dean Balsamini, along with Business Advisors George Telmany, Joe Bottega, and Megan Baran of the SBDC. Winnie Brophy and Diana Posadas of the Center for Global Engagement also were key contributors in organizing the event.
The “Seleccion National de Pymes” from Chile were selected through a contest of popular votes based on their media presentations on the website of SERCOTEC, the Chilean equivalent of the SBDC. In total, 638,967 votes were cast and the eleven winners came to CSI for this program geared to improve their professional knowledge, identify opportunities and further develop their products and services. These businesses were primarily involved in food related industries or in the sports entertainment field; the program was modeled accordingly.
The event began with the SBDC presenting an overview of best practices and how they interact within directives from and partnerships through federal, state and local initiatives. Also, each entrepreneur from Chile presented their business concepts to the groups with the assistance of two interpreters, Diana Posadas and Walter Ochoa, a local entrepreneur, who were constantly interfacing through the discussions. Each participant was given a Spanish language version of the NYS SBDC, ‘A Practical Guide To Preparing Your Business Plan.’ This guide was utilized throughout the program to help define critical growth issues.
The program offered real estate planning by Jon Salmon of Salmon Real Estate, social media outreach and other promotional tools by Dan Ryan, Advertising Director for the Staten Island Advance and access to capital by George Telmany and Joseph Bottega of the SBDC. Brian Licata of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce also spoke about networking and the Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA).
The participants were able to tour the CSI cafeteria through Jodi Merendino, Manager, to understand the food industry rules, regulations, processes and equipment involved. Three NYC food related business owners presented their products and processes to the Chilean entrepreneurs, leading to lively Q and A sessions. Those involved in sports entertainment were intrigued by a visit to Dave and Busters at the Staten Island Mall, where they decided to stay on longer than planned because of their interest there and with so many businesses available to observe throughout the mall.
The program ended with a tour of downtown St. George to see the redevelopment of a community through public and private partnerships, while showing how this benefits the SME community by bringing customers to a previously underdeveloped area. This tour included the St. George Theater, of which the SBDC provided business planning assistance, and the Empire Outlets, a critical anchor to community business growth. The tour ended at the iconic Staten Island Ferry terminal allowing the Chilean delegation to further explore the North Shore of SI, tour Manhattan and attend the longest running Broadway show, The Phantom of the Opera.
After the event, some of the Chilean entrepreneurs stayed in NYC; a few are considering ‘English as a Second Language’ courses at CSI, some are forging into potential partnerships with area businesses and some are staying to enjoy a longer visit in NYC. The feedback from the delegation was extremely positive for the program. Further business interaction is occurring as the Chilean entrepreneurs are exploring the opportunities developed through this program.
A special thank you to our valued resource partners & guest speakers:
Dan Ryan, Staten Island Advance
Jon Salmon, Salmon Real Estate
Brian Licata, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
Linda Baran, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
Jaclyn Tacoronte, JMT Media
Maria Ditta, Staten Island Mall
Jim Easley, Staten Island Mall
Jessica Bocaya, Dave & Busters
Vincent Innocente, St. George Theatre
Walter Ochoa, GreenWave
Drew Kohl, Sweet Dough
Fernando Vivanco, Con Yapa