The next generation of international entrepreneurs is having its first exporting experience, and by all indications, it won't be the last. Last fall, 90 students from six Central Florida high schools teamed up with peers from the newly liberated Republic of Moldova to form corporations that will manufacture and export a product.
Junior Achievement and the Eastern Europe Linkage Institute of the University of Central Florida created Project GLOBE (Global Learning of the Business Enterprise) to introduce students to the concept of international joint ventures-and to immerse them in the culture and economic processes of another country. Pamela Finlayson, a teacher at Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, says the 15 students she is shepherding through the program are so into it that they're even meeting outside of class to discuss it.
Last October, the Moldovan students visited their Florida counterparts to discuss products Moldova may want to import. The U.S. pupils, in turn, will journey to Moldova this spring to trade goods and begin the selling phase of Project GLOBE.
"This project gives our students real-world experience," says Finlayson. The experience they gain is invaluable, she says, because it helps students prepare for the reality of international business. "Here, if they fail, the worst that can happen is they get a failing grade. Once you graduate, if you fail, you may not be able to pay the rent."