Grow Your Business: A Community Outreach Seminar Sponsored by the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism

August 31, 2018

Facing common small business challenges in a second language in a country where cultural norms are vastly different from your own is the reality for many small business owners in and around the Piedmont Triad. As such, the Wake Forest University School of Business offered its assistance to local immigrant-owned small businesses.

On May 15-17, 2018, the inaugural Grow Your Business seminar was held on the Reynolda Campus of Wake Forest University, and the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism sponsored each participant to help ensure that the cost of attendance was not a barrier. Designed specifically for first- and second-generation immigrants, the seminar offered training on basic business concepts and solutions like strategy, finance, operations, human resources, cultural awareness, and marketing.

With guidance from Professor Bill Davis and as part of the Global Immersion at Home course, eighteen second-year MBA students facilitated the seminar for participants from Egypt, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Vietnam, and Venezuela. The students applied what they learned through their MBA coursework to the participants representing the service, health care, and catering industries. According to one small business participant:

 “Every piece of information was very helpful. Overall, the information given made me aware of everyday activities I perform that can be improved.”

The experience was equally beneficial to the MBA students who lived out the University’s mission of Pro Humanitate.

“Today, alongside two of my classmates, I taught 3+ hours of a finance module to eight first- and second- generation local businesses. Our team, along with five others, had the opportunity to espouse our knowledge to these business owners who already have successful businesses, but needed that extra oomph to reach the next level. Today made the last two years [of the MBA program] worth it.”

Based on the success of this year’s seminar, the School plans to offer a similar event next year and will use feedback from students and seminar participants to perfect this unique experience.