ECLA - Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America

Program Description

Entrepreneurs in Latin America have the innate creativity, spirit, and energy to build successful ventures, but do they have the skills and training to make their businesses thrive and compete in the global marketplace?

“Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America” (ECLA) is an executive program created by Columbia Business School for entrepreneurs of mid-sized Latin American companies who seek specialized education to compete in today’s changing global environment.

The 13 months program (a combination of in-classroom training and distance learning) provides the participants with the skills and direction necessary to implement and lead change within their organizations and prepares them for success across borders.

Divided in 2 phases: “improving efficiency” and “business growth planning”, the program is designed to put learning into immediate practical application. Each company is required to complete a project for each phase where, in conjunction with an advisor they identify an issue, develop and implement a solution and show the results to the rest of the ECLA class and faculty.

In addition, as part of the curriculum, participants go on a study tour to a country with strong entrepreneurial activity (South Korea in 2011, Israel in 2013).

Program Objectives

  • Equip participants with the educational foundation, tools, and resources to grow their enterprises and conduct cross-border transactions.
  • Develop and hone participants' macroeconomic skills and global mindset, enabling them to capture opportunities and recognize challenges of entering new markets.
  • Expose participants to the business and entrepreneurship culture of a country outside the region.
  • Enable participants to develop and implement a company improvement project with measurable results and impact.
  • Bridge theory with practice, utilizing case discussions, guest speakers, industry coaches and the diversity of experiences inherent in the faculty and student community.
  • Establish a network of Latin American entrepreneurs, industry coaches, academics, and business leaders.

Program Curriculum

ECLA takes an integrated approach by focusing on three key challenges: efficiency improvement, growth planning, and internationalization. Participants complete six learning modules over the course of 12 months, which combine classroom training, distance learning, international immersion, and project-based education in a comprehensive and relevant curriculum. Aside from regular class assignments, participants will be expected to complete two program deliverables that enact the skills, tools, and perspectives introduced in the program: a Process Improvement Project, which involves the creation, implementation, and evaluation of actionable strategies to improve company performance; and a Business Growth Plan, which outlines steps for cross-border expansion. Click here for more information about the ECLA curriculum.

Program Information

The next ECLA program will run from January 2014 to January 2015. Click here for additional information on the dates of the program. Modules I, IV and VI take place at Columbia Business School. Module II and V are distant learning with online classes once a month. Module III consists of a study tour to a country outside the Latin American region where there is strong entrepreneurship activity.

Application Information

Acceptance to the program is by application only. Ideal candidates to the program are entrepreneurs from Latin America who are looking to take their businesses to the next level and who demonstrate entrepreneurial initiative, intellectual curiosity, and a global mindset. Ideal companies are mid-sized companies, from any sector, that demonstrate business innovation, have high potential for growth across borders. The program is designed for two representatives per company, ideally the Founder/CEO and right hand person.

Application deadline for ECLA 2014-2015 is October 31st 2013. Click here for more information on how to apply.

Additional Information

        Message from the Faculty Directors

        Program Contributors

        Upcoming Events

        Frequently Asked Questions



ECLA '15 company, Cinemagic, received the National Entrepreneur Award 2014 of Mexico.

ECLA '15 entrepreneurs written about in Forbes! 

Module I of the 2014-2015 ECLA Class was a success!  Read the summary here.

Download the ECLA magazine and brochure to read more about the program and past participants:


A message from ECLA Faculty Director Nelson Fraiman in this video

The Seattle Times recently quoted Nelson Fraiman on successful retail giant, Zara.

Latin American newspapers summarize the ECLA Program and its future goals. Read more in the artivles by El EspectadorDF Chile and El Observador.

Read the Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs (PDF), a summary of ECLA’s successful first program year (2011).

Contact Information
For questions please e-mail:
Columbia Business School: