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Cisco to Launch Institute for Entrepreneurs

It’s never too late to go back to school, even if you’re a big-shot business executive.

Entrepreneurs and members of the business community in Costa Rica looking to improve tactics and operations soon will have the option of learning from the experts.

Cisco Sytems Inc. – one of the world’s leading suppliers of Internet networking equipment, communications technology and network management – has announced it will establish the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute in San José to instruct small- to medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs on how to improve business functions and information technologies.

“The Cisco Entrepreneur Institute was created because the company identified the need of entrepreneurs and small businesses of the emerging markets to have access to business training and use of information technologies and communications,” said Ravi Lingam, general manager of Cisco Costa Rica and Panama. “In developing countries, small- and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurial projects are fundamental parts of the economy and important generators of employment.”

Lingam said that there is a high failure rate of such companies in developing countries and that the institute will focus on teaching businesses how to achieve long-term success.

The first training centers will study the business models of ITS InfoCom and Parque Tec, two international Internet technology companies that work with Cisco and are in San José. The training center at the Parque Tec location is scheduled to open on Feb. 15, while the ITS Infocom location will begin classes on Feb. 20. Cisco aims to educate 500 to 1,000 Tico entrepreneurs during the institute’s first year.

The institute will design its workshops and classes to educate owners, managers and partners who are creating or expanding business operations. The courses will cover three levels of corporate development and include “Starting a Business,” for less experienced entrepreneurs; “Growing a business,” for established companies looking to expand; and “iExec Business Essentials,” a program designed by Cisco to help companies develop Internet strategies and applications to transform organizations and maximize efficiency.

According to Cisco, the courses were designed by Stanford and CornellUniversities, with assistance from the My Own Business Inc. company.

“These workshops and courses look to provide the tools to create a business for those that have an idea for a business or are trying to develop a business,” said Lingam.

“There will also be workshops for growth in micro and small businesses that want to strengthen their business, and improve aspects and internal processes to bring them to a superior level. There will also be a workshop for application of advanced technologies and a workshop on entrepreneurial mentality.”

In the most recent Fortune 500 rankings, Cisco Systems was ranked as the 57th highest revenue-earning company in the world, earning $39.5 billion in revenue in 2009, and over $8 billion in profits.

The Cisco Entrepreneur Institute has locations in Mexico, Chile and Colombia. Cisco plans to invest $626,000 in the institute in Costa Rica during its first year.

“The launch of the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute in Costa Rica reinforces our commitment to promote an entrepreneurial culture in the country and aid in the development of new projects that boost national development,” said Marcelo Lebendiker, president of Parque Tec. “We know Costa Ricans have the talent and vision to do business, but we need more initiatives like the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, which provides support and training for entrepreneurs, to strengthen their knowledge and to develop their successful ideas.”


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