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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 midsized Latin American companies who seek specialized education to compete in today’s changing global environment.

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

The program is divided in two phases: “improving efficiency” and “business growth planning,” both 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 solutio,n 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 current ECLA program began in January 2014 and will run until January 2015. Click here for additional information on the dates of the current 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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The Chazen Institute does not have members; most of our programs are open to anyone. All current students and faculty receive our mailings.


Email us at chazen@columbia.edu, or call 212-854-4750. Our mailing address is Columbia Business School, 3022 Broadway, Uris Hall 2M2, New York, NY 10027. Our fax number is 212-851-9509.


Simply email us at chazen@columbia.edu and let us know you'd like to be added to our list. To subscribe to Chazen Global Insights, our e-newsletter, click here.


Winter study tours are announced in May; spring tours are announced in October. Check our study tour page for updates.


Alumni are welcome at most of the events we sponsor. Alumni can also learn another language through the Chazen Language Program. Be sure to sign up for the Chazen Institute email list on the alumni website to receive notification of upcoming events.

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