In this week’s TBE blog post, Sandra Scoseria-Katz, a first-year student and co-chair of the Latin American Business Group, describes the group’s annual conference. LABG has approximately 150 active members and hosts both professional and social events that encompass the Latin American business world and culture at Booth. To learn more about LABG, head to their official website.
On Friday, April 27, 2012, Chicago Booth welcomed distinguished guests from around to globe for the 9th Annual Vale Latin American Business Conference.
Organized by the Latin American Business Group (LABG), with the generous sponsorship of VALE, a global mining and logistics company headquartered in Brazil, the conference brought together leading professionals from across the Americas and distinguished faculty and students from University of Chicago community to discuss cutting-edge business trends in Latin America.
This year’s conference focused on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth. Dean Sunil Kumar opened the conference, followed by a welcome address by Roberto Castello-Branco, Director of Investor Relations at VALE.
The first panel explored how public policy can spur innovation and entrepreneurship. Professor Marianne Bertrand moderated the discussion, featuring former Minster for the Economy, Mr. Juan Andres Fontaine and Mexican Vice-Minister of the Economy, Ms. Lorenza Martinez.
Mr. Fernando Fabre, President of Endeavor, delivered the Luncheon Keynote Address, “Entrepreneurial Networks in Emerging Economies – The Endeavor Case.” Fabre shared data on global trends in entrepreneurship, comparing the U.S. and Latin American markets and focusing on opportunities for further growth. Second-year MBA student Carolina Ratto, from Argentina, was fascinated by Fabre’s presentation. “He was incredible,” noted Carolina. “Mr. Fabre’s experience in entrepreneurship is unparalleled. He shared powerful facts with us and brought great energy and insight to the conference.”
Mr. Fabre moderated the second panel, “Taking the Bet – The Entrepeneurs’ Perspective” which featured Mr. Mark Barcinksy (Founder of ProPay, Brazil), Mr. Enrique Gomez-Junco (Founder of Optima Energia, Mexico), Mr. Boris Hirmas (Angel Investor & Vice Chairman of Yellow Pepper, USA) and Mr.
Heberto Taracena (Founder of Metros Cubicos & InventMX, Mexico). These entrepreneurs discussed their adventures in business, highlighting the ups-and-downs of starting one’s own business. Carla Casares, a first-year MBA student from Mexico, appreciated the speakers’ unique perspectives and candor. “Not only were the panelists high-profile and tremendously successful, they were also very down to earth. They shared specific details with us about how to start a business, truly aiming to help inspire students, while also warning of the great challenges entrepreneurs face – namely securing funding, recruiting talent, and growing a client base.”
The last panel, “Risks and Returns: Venture and Growth Capital in Latin America”, brought together Professor Scott Meadow and Mr. Eric Acher (Founding Partner, Monashees Capital, Brazil), Mr. Raimundo Cerda (Managing Director, Aurus Tecnologia, Chile), Mr. Jaime Sanchez (Manager, Mexico Ventures I, Mexico & USA) and Mr. Ariel Muslera (Partner, CAP Ventures, Argentina). The venture capitalists discussed about the different risks of investing within the region along with the proven strategies to mitigate them. They emphasized in the high potential and opportunities in Latin America.
The LABG Co-Chairs would like to the conference’s sponsor, VALE, the panelists, guests and volunteers for making this event possible. We look forward to welcoming you to the 10th Annual Conference next spring!