EC-America is a high impact program exclusively for Latino entrepreneurs of established firms in the United States that will empower leaders with concrete skills and methodologies to build and expand their companies. Through this program, housed in Columbia Business School’s W. Edward Deming Center for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness, EC-America will provide the training that will enable Latino entrepreneurs to grow their companies, create jobs, strengthen professional networks, and generate revenue to advance economic equity.
Through the EC-America Program, participants will:
• Implement impact-oriented process improvement projects and develop a strategic growth plan for their companies under the mentorship of Columbia Business School faculty and senior industry mentors
• Operationalize and institutionalize processes across their firms
• Transform the culture of their companies through a shared shift in mindset
• Cultivate a strong professional network of peer Latino entrepreneurs, industry coaches, faculty, and business leaders from across the U.S.
• Position their companies to scale and grow with measurable impact on the firms, employees, and communities
EC-America aims to serve companies that are at an inflection point. Companies must be ready to institutionalize and operationalize their processes as they learn how to create a culture of continuous improvement that will lead to growth and job creation.
Each class will consist of up to 20 companies from diverse industries across the U.S. Each company enrolls with a team of 2-4 decision makers: CEOs, Founders, Managing Directors, COOs, etc. This ensures a shared mindset and a commitment to implementing change within the company.
- An established firm with a scalable business in/ready to enter a growth phase
- US $1M - $20M annual revenue
- 5+ employees
- 5+ years in business
- Majority Latino-owned and operated
- Bachelor’s degree
- Proficient in English
- Intellectual curiosity
The program runs for one year. All participants visit campus on three occasions for one-week over the course of the year: at the commencement, mid-point, and end. The remaining weeks consist of online classes and topical deep dives as well as work on the projects. Entrepreneurs can expect to devote 5 hours a week to the academic work and project implementation and analysis when not on campus.
CURRICULUM AND PROJECTS
In addition to classes covering business and strategy with Columbia Business School’s world-class professors, all entrepreneurs will undertake two capstone projects that are conceived, implemented, and quantified under the guidance of a faculty advisor and industry mentor. The first project challenges companies to identify inefficient internal processes. Working on these projects exposes leaders to the measurable impact of process improvement methodologies and helps to embed a company culture of continuous improvement. This is followed by a Growth and Strategy Project in which companies follow a framework to conquer their core businesses and develop strategic plans for growth and expansion.
Advising and Mentorship
In addition to one-on-one faculty advising, entrepreneurs will benefit from mentorship with senior executives in industry. Each company will be paired with a mentor to provide guidance on strategic planning and expanding their business network.
A core component of the EC-America Program is the creation of a robust personal and professional network of peer Latino-led firms and industry contacts. The class is carefully designed to foster both community and camaraderie among the participating firms.
The EC-America program is based on Columbia’s impactful ECLA Program (Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America), which has run since 2010 and has graduated more than 200 entrepreneurs from 96 companies in 12 different countries and across 40+ industries. The program has helped these Latin American entrepreneurs realize significant business growth:
• More than 9,100 new jobs created
• 38% average annual growth rate per company
• 77% of companies get the return on their investment in the program within one year of graduating