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American Airlines/American Eagle Joins Students to Support Entrepreneurship in Jamaica

August 27, 2010
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   Jamaica Project
Ellen McPhillip, assistant dean, and six of the Titans
on the Hyperion Council with the participants from the
University of Miami Hyperion Council's American
Airlines/American Eagle Jamaica Project 2010.

Undergraduate students from the School of Business Administration journeyed back to Jamaica July 14–20 to support entrepreneurship there as part of the School’s ongoing Jamaica Project. The project, started by the School’s Hyperion Council in 2008, provides training to small- and micro- business owners in the MSME Alliance in Jamaica.

This year, students were supported by alumnus Pedro Fabregas, MSPM ’08, president and CEO of American Eagle Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida, and a member of the School’s Board of Overseers. Fabregas, through American Airlines/American Eagle, provided the funding that made the trip possible, including airfare and rewards for top performers in the program. 

The program was conducted on Paul Mountain in St. Catherine, a rural area of Jamaica about an hour outside of Kingston. There, students helped 39 members of a cooperative farm complete a three-month training program with an on-site-six-day entrepreneurship skills session. In addition, the students assisted farmers in developing a business plan to help them to secure additional financing.

Jamaica Project
Kalpesh Patel with participants from the University of Miami
Hyperion Council's American Airlines/American Eagle Jamaica
Project 2010.

“We presented lessons on business operations, goal setting, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, creating a business plan, basic accounting, financial statements and marketing,” said Aubrey Swanson, BBA ’10, who participated in the Jamaica Project both this year and in 2008 while she was a student. “All these lessons we created and taught came from the skills and knowledge we learned in class.”

Swanson and current students Kalpesh Patel, Naveen Kirpalani, Colby Meyers, Jordan Chadsey, and Jennifer Tang were joined on the trip by Michael Rios, director of administration and planning for American Eagle; Tracie Hoo-Glinton, BBA ’91, MBA ’93, regional sales manager for American Eagle the Bahamas and Florida and Evette Negron, regional sales manager for American Eagle. This was the first year that alumni participated in the trip.

“The University of Miami Jamaica Project … serves as an inspiration for Jamaican entrepreneurs interested in learning and developing the skills and tools necessary to startup and operate successful businesses and a rewarding experience for the participating UM students and sponsors supporting the project,” said Hoo-Glinton.  “As a Jamaican and a University of Miami alumna, I was pleased to participate and make a contribution to the project.”

Jamaica Project
(L to R) Ellen McPhillip, assistant dean, Aubrey Swanson, Naveen
Kirpalani, Kalpesh Patel, Jennifer Tang, Kenneth Baugh, deputy
prime minister of Jamaica, Rosalea Hamilton, Ph.D., vice
president of development, University of Technology, Jordan
Chadsey, and Colby Meyers.

In addition to the student-led sessions, the program included an address by Ellen McPhillip, assistant dean of undergraduate business programs, who spoke about the program’s success to leading Jamaican businessmen at a Rotary Club meeting.

“Both serious business professionals and our students saw first-hand how programs such as ours have the power to transform lives,” said McPhillip.  “We visited several of the 2008 project’s participants, and it was incredibly gratifying to see how those participants had applied the information they had learned to improve their service, add to their product lines or launch new locations for their business activities.”

The Hyperion Council is a student organization that focuses on developing projects to strengthen entrepreneurship bonds between local business and university communities. Each year, the council initiates projects that link the university to at-risk communities and promote important business concepts including market economics, entrepreneurship, personal and financial success, and business ethics to help participants better themselves, their communities and their countries.

More about the Jamaica Project

View more photos of the Jamaica Project 2010

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