State Department grant funds ‘Young Entrepreneurs’ linkage to Israel, Jordan

GREEN BAY – Young entrepreneurs from Israel and Jordan will be matched with Green Bay-area mentors thanks to a U.S. Department of State grant to be administered by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The University announced Tuesday (Sept. 22) it has been selected to receive a two-year grant totaling $273, 876 from the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The “Young Entrepreneurs” training project will provide professional development for up to 20 young business people, approximately 25 to 35 years of age, who will travel to Wisconsin for workshops, site visits, job shadowing and cultural activities in the Green Bay area.

Mentors will provide customized training and insight, from a Midwest American perspective, on developing and launching entrepreneurial business ventures. The mentors also would be available for potential follow-up training and consulting in the visitors’ home countries. A long-term goal is to create mutually beneficial, self-sustaining linkages among professional communities in the United States, Israel and Jordan.

Contributing to the training process will be Green Bay-area business professionals, faculty members from the UW-Green Bay Business Administration program, personnel from the University’s new Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and counselors from the Small Business Development Center. Also lending support to the Young Entrepreneurs initiative are the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Network, and the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Program partners in Jordan include the American Chamber of Commerce in Amman and the King Abdullah Fund for Development, and in Israel the Israel-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with the center for entrepreneurship at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Co-sponsors also include the BIRD Foundation (Binational Industrial Research and Development) of the United States and Israel, and TRIDE (Tri-lateral Industrial Development), an alliance promoting investment, research and development bringing together U.S., Israeli and Jordanian interests.

Co-directors of the Young Entrepreneurs project at UW-Green Bay are Prof. Meir Russ, chair of the University’s Master’s in Management graduate program, and current holder of the school’s Frederick and Patricia Baer Professorship in Business; and Michael Marinetti, assistant dean of Professional Studies and Research.

The grant proposal was developed by Jay Harris, the University’s international projects coordinator. Harris has significant experience in the Mideast and with State Department educational initiatives through his direction of UW-Green Bay’s ‘Journey to Jordan,’ a federally funded summer immersion program in Arabic language and culture for American teen-agers, now in its fourth year.

Marinetti says a number of local businesses and individuals have already expressed interest in assisting with the project. The first group of visitors from the Mideast is expected in spring 2010. For more information, contact the UW-Green Bay Office of Professional and Graduate Studies, at (920) 465-2050.


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