A University professor received a grant three years ago to research the need for businesses to easily expand to other parts of the world.
Today, he continues to help companies and University students soften the transition from entrepreneurship to globalization.
Business professor Ye-Sho Chen works with the Louisiana Business and Technology Center to carry out the soft landings program. Chen said the program helps businesses from countries like China expand their companies to the United States.
He said instead of companies taking the risk of crashing in a foreign market because of a lack of resources, the program can help them land softly in a new place.
“This is a platform allowing small and medium-sized companies and students to participate in global entrepreneurship with less risks and less costs,” Chen said.
Charles D’Agostino, LBTC executive director, said the two business incubators, including a student incubator, give businesses a leg up by helping them design a business plan, giving them access to banks and investors, and providing rental spaces.
D’Agostino said the incubators contain a variety of businesses, from foreign to Louisiana-based, that make everything from software to medical devices to cell phone Tasers.
Two Chinese companies currently use the incubator, he said. One of the companies called HitLights specializes in making LED lighting. D’Agostino said the company is now bidding with L’Auberge Baton Rouge to provide LED lighting in the casino.
Chen said helping Chinese companies come to the United States creates not only business but also jobs. American companies also go to China using this same principle, he said.
Chen said people used to be able to easily borrow money, but now they must reduce reliance on outside sources and obtain money by themselves.
“The only way you can be self-sufficient is to turn faculty research into economic development,” he said.
Chen said he plans to research the credentials of a good partnership and ways for companies to recruit talent.
Chen took his motto of “flying high, landing soft” to a student level in developing the Soft Landings Curriculum with his colleagues. The curriculum, which is used at the University, helps to prepare students for work in global environments.
“There’s a need for private companies to go global; there’s a need for students to go global,” he said. “This curriculum is a merge of these two concepts.”
Business graduate student Alyssa Zaunbrecher said she traveled to China in April and became interested in supply chain management. Now Zaunbrecher said she is taking Chen’s supply chain management class, which is helping her to network with companies in the Brazil region.
She said the MBA program focuses on globalization, and research on soft landings companies raises awareness about opportunity-filled markets.
“It helps not just [foreign companies] but the U.S., as well,” Zaunbrecher said. “We are able to collaborate together and come up with solutions that benefit both countries.”