UTSA business students partner with technology students from Canary Islands

Canary Islands trip

Participants in UTSA-sponsored trip to Canary Islands
>> Watch a video from the trip.

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(June 28, 2012) -- The Global Venture Experience (GVE), headed by Cory Hallam, director of the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE), and Anita Leffel, CITE assistant director, recently partnered UTSA business students with Spanish technology students in the Canary Islands. Students visited the islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Fuerteventura for the business plan competition and to participate in a strategic planning session with the Fuerteventura Office of the President.

During the first week, there was an intensive business plan competition. Five teams with each having two UTSA business students and one University of La Laguna student were in the competition. The first-place team was recognized for its creation of software used by unmanned aerial vehicles to survey areas after natural disasters. The company has launched a website to begin selling the software.

"This was a fantastic learning experience that has motivated me to look at my company from a more global perspective and seek new business opportunities," said Margaret Mayfield, a student in the UTSA entrepreneurship program and owner of a private tax services company.

During the second week, the students were invited by the Fuerteventura Office of the President to lead a strategic planning session focusing on the advancement of technology entrepreneurship on the island. The UTSA delegation discussed what was being done at UTSA in entrepreneurship and how it can be replicated.

In honor of the work done by UTSA and students from CITE who were part of the GVE, the island dedicated a garden at the new technology park to UTSA CITE. Additionally, UTSA has been invited to continue the relationship annually as Fuerteventura grows their technology-based economy.

"As a teacher, it is exciting to see the Spanish engineers' eyes open as they realized the potential of their technologies and the rigor required to get these technologies to market," said Leffel. "Our students also experienced the effect the global economic crisis is having on their counterparts, who are facing 50-percent unemployment rates upon graduation. They now see entrepreneurship as a serious option for their future."