IE students mentor African women entrepreneurs

Students from IE Business School’s International MBA (IMBA) program have been providing online and onsite assessment for the African women entrepreneurs who have participated in The Women-Led Businesses Program. The program is designed to provide mentoring and assessment for women entrepreneurs in Liberia, South Africa, Congo Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Rwanda, and is organized by the Senegalese association FAS (Femmes Africa Solidarité) and IE Business School.

IE Business School’s Center for Diversity and FAS, in collaboration with AECID, have designed and implemented this project aimed at providing 23 African women with training and leadership skills. During the first phase, Professor Pablo Martin de Holan and Professor Celia de Anca created a group of consultants, each of which would be responsible for selecting candidates from a particular country. Between them they selected 23 high-potential African women from a total of 300 candidates. The selected candidates took part in a month-long training program led by Professor Ignacio de la Vega in Senegal. After this training period, they came to Madrid to continue their management education. During the 2009/2010 academic year, the program organizers selected the best business plans and presented them to a panel comprised of potential investors. Celia de Anca, Director of IE’s Center for Diversity, explained how IE feels that is essential to teach young, future directors and entrepreneurs about the enormous potential of the African continent for the corporate world. “The program is about another way of looking at this neighboring continent and another way of doing business in a continent with such potential”.

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Change of Screen

IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School

Television is dead. And not only television, but all the other classic media based on unidirectional communication, because the young are changing the rules. A recent study on teenagers´ habits carried out in the United States reveals of how the way information is consumed in our society has changed over the years: the classic one-way media, such as television, have died a death. The medium that was considered for many years as a bastion of North American culture and which still brings together multimillion audiences for events such as the Super Bowl final is being abandoned by young people in their droves. Time spent in front of the TV has fallen drastically and those who still watch it do so on a different screen: their computer.

The final nail in TV’s coffin has been hammered home, as expected, by the social network. The use of the social network confirms that the absurd fears of some adults for the alleged “isolation” of young people in front of the screen (“they don´t go out any more”, “I prefer my computer to seeing my friends”, “they are so pale because they get no sunshine and only get radiation from the screen”) were unfounded fears: the young people who are the most active on the net are also the most active off the net… they have more friends, go out more and go to more parties.

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Welcome, Spain, to the Euro

IE Focus | By Gayle Allard, Professor at IE Business School

After just 8 years of circulation the Euro has the dark side that Spain didn’t want to see when it took over from the weakened peseta. What we need now is real improvement in levels of competitiveness.We thought we knew what the Euro was about when we launched it in 2002. We started to spend those new coins and notes with an almost patriotic meaning for pro-Europeans. We went through the “rounding-up” stage, but anyway we were enthusiastic about the new currency and what it meant for Spain and Europe.

And the initial years of the euro brought the benefits we anticipated. Interest rates fell to the lowest ever levels. Trade increased, foreign investment reached new highs and Spain went through a golden era of growth and rapid increases in income. We should almost be forgiven for thinking that belonging to the Euro held only advantages. But we were wrong.

From the beginning, the euro was not ´pretty´ notes, but rather the final abandonment of two fundamental tools that had helped the member states balance out their economies: interest rates and exchange rates.

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Madrid signs collaboration with IE

The mayor of Madrid, Ruiz-Gallardon, signs a collaboration with IE Business School which addresses four key areas: entrepreneurship, economy, innovation and worldwide promotion. IE Business School is to produce management education tools based on the public administration model of the city of Madrid, including keys to the social and economic transformation achieved by the city in…

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Can Nokia compete with the iPad?

IE Focus | By Ricardo Perez, Professor at IE Business School

Nokia is still a leader in terms of sales, but the crown of innovation has now passed to Apple. In order to get it back, Nokia needs to reinvent itself as a mobile services company that offers multiple benefits to its partners. At the last world mobiles congress in Barcelona, Nokia and Intel revealed their plans for the joint development of software for all kinds of devices to compete with Apple and Google. Nokia takes another step forward in its strategy of creating a technological platform that returns it to a position that will enable it to take the initiative in the most interesting market at the present time, i.e. smart phones like the iPhone, and in new markets, such as the one created recently by the iPad. Don´t worry, I won’t go on about the iPad; what I want to speak about is Nokia and its position in today´s market. It is a story of what can happen to a leading company if it comes up with the wrong definition of the business game it is playing. The loss of leadership this causes has happened to others: it has happened to Sony with its music players and its video consoles over the last two years. Nokia had worked hard to create the different technological platforms it believed would enable it to win in the mobile market. Symbian, its key product, has also seen defeat. Allow me to explain.

Nokia established the rules for the top-of-the-range telephone market before iPhone. It created an alliance to produce the base software (operating system) with which telephones worked (Symbian, theoretically neutral and owned by many companies on the market). It also made sure that what users saw on the telephone when they used the menus (user interface) was the development and property of each of Symbian´s partners, which meant it could not enter the market as a competitor. The rules were clear and benefited Nokia in a market that competed in terms of the electronics and “additional utilities” of the telephone (best camera, GPS, etc.).

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Marketing and social networks

IE Focus | By David Gracia, Professor at IE Business School

The social networking phenomenon is unstoppable, but there is still no business model capable of successfully exploiting the services these companies provide.Social networks are attracting more and more consumers´ attention. As a result, they are becoming an unbeatable opportunity for advertisers to showcase their products and services to potential consumers. However, advertisers´ and users´ interests are not always the same and social networks need to find a balance so that they can attract new users and, at the same time, capitalize on their services in an Internet culture ruled by freebies. It is a three-edged challenge: advertisers, users and the social networks themselves.

Social networks are a particularly attractive platform for advertisers. Facebook, which has just completed its sixth year, was visited by 460 million people in February, 13.3 million of them from Spain (according to figures released by Nielsen). If Facebook were a country, it would have the third-highest national population on the planet, with more than 400 million inhabitants.

The comparison between Google and Facebook is particularly interesting. On the one hand, the percentage of Internet users that use the search engine in Spain is 91%, whereas only 53% use the social network. On the other, the key factor lies in the time spent by users on the site: whereas with Google people enter, search and leave, whereas Facebook users are getting more and more involved in a growing number of activities. On average, users spend 1.45 hours a month on Google, which is very little in comparison with the 6.5 hours they spend on Facebook.

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