2016 Conference Guayaquil, Ecuador
ESPAE Graduate School of Management organized a remarkable BALAS 2016 Annual Conference. The Conference theme was "From starting up to sustained growth: Opportunities and challenges faced by Latin American entrepreneurs". Eighty scholars had the opportunity to present and share their research with peers from 47 universities from around the world.
The event started with a plenary session "Global Latinas: Achievements and Challenges" led by the keynote speaker Lourdes Casanova, Academic Director of the Emerging Markets Institute at the Johnson School of Business at Cornell University. Her presentation explained the remarkable expansion of Global Latinas during the last 20 years, being the unique characteristic of these companies their entrepreneurship mindset that makes them adapt to the difficult economic environment in Latin America. The remaining challenges for Latin-American companies highlighted by Lourdes were: having more competitive economic sector, ecosystems with incentives for innovation and finally the social challenge of poverty.
On day two, the plenary session featured its keynote speaker Armen Ovanesoff, principal Director at the Accenture Institute for High Performance in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His lecture, "Collaborating for Latin America´s Future", pointed the disruptive economic environment which meant that innovation is becoming more important to companies and how collaborating innovation is seen as the way to growth. For Omar, Latin America has to address mindset issues like trust, internationalization of collaboration and the realization of opportunities offered by cross sectorial collaborations. Once companies realize the results of collaboration, they will move on into the collaboration innovation virtual cycle effect, was the hopeful observation from Omar.
Through the BALAS 2016 Annual Conference, we paid tribute to the past BALAS President, Luis Sanz, who passed away during 2015. Notable opportunities to recognize Luis's prolific academic work were, among others, a panel session where his colleagues at INCAE presented Luis contributions to finance, entrepreneurship and management education as well as his outstanding role as an institutional builder; naming the Best Student Award the Luis Sanz Award reflecting his commitment to students; and finally his posthumous designation as a BALAS Fellow, in recognition of his extraordinary accomplishments as a business scholar making this year conference "especially special" in the words of BALAS President Xavier Mendoza. We were honored to have Luis family in this special event and expressed them what Luis legacy meant for us.
The 18 concurrent sessions were organized into the ten General Latin American Business tracks and one Conference Theme track: Entrepreneurship and Regional Economic Development BALAS 2016 Conference was held in Guayaquil, Ecuador's main port and its largest city with a history of 481 years. Juan Pueblo, the most beloved city character, welcomed BALAS participants to the Banker´s Club, where they enjoyed a lovely evening full of Ecuadorian traditional music and of course some dancing. Guayaquil is a vibrant city, so BALAS participants were able to enjoy some of the best tourist places, like the old colonial neighborhood "Las Peñas", declared as Cultural Heritage in 1982. There, BALAS attendees accepted the challenge of climbing 444 steps so as to reach the lighthouse and enjoy a 360 degree impressive view of the city. The tour finished at ESPOL Campus Las Peñas, home of some Galapagos Tortoise. Those attendees who were not able to visit the Galapagos, at least had a chance to enjoy a close up view of these magnificent creatures.
We would like to thank the following sponsors whose contribution made the conference possible: Euromonitor International, PRO - ECUADOR, Sheraton Guayaquil Hotel, América Economía, ESPOL Tourism Club and the wonderful team of ESPAE Graduate School of Management.
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