U.S. Business Community and Emerging Markets
It was 3:00 a.m. Seamus DuBois had been living in his computer-cramped office for the past few months. He was tired of writing software programs. As he sipped his coffee, he realized how long it had been since he had taken breaks to pursue his passions outside of work.

“It’s time for me to branch out and do something new,” DuBois said.

Having grown up on a farm, he had always been interested in agriculture. In the next few weeks, he conducted rigorous research to explore his options working in the agricultural industry. Through his research, DuBois realized the challenges facing the global food industry. He felt that it was unfair that industrialized countries could benefit so much from developing country products, and yet the populations in those countries were stuck in vicious cycles of poverty.

With this in mind, DuBois contacted the Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program (EMDAP) and began devising a business plan that would benefit local populations and their environment by creating a product he could sell in the U.S. Eventually, EMDAP located him in Madagascar, where he helped local villagers develop a profitable, sustainable business plan to export commercial dry mango to developed countries. This was the beginning of a new venture between the U.S. business community and emerging markets.

The EMDAP provides consulting opportunities for U.S. graduate students to assist local organizations in USAID-funded countries.

For instance, from 2005 to 2006 EMDAP Adviser Robert Haynie, a Georgetown graduate, worked with the Business Development Center in Amman, Jordan. His case examined the security challenges facing the Marriott hotels in Jordan where terrorist bombing gradually became prevalent. The plan Haynie devised highlighted the company’s worldwide approach to security management. Marriott leadership immediately acknowledged the practical contribution of the case and incorporated it into its worldwide security strategies, significantly boosting its managerial capacities.

Since its founding, the EMDAP has provided support to over 200 businesses and organizations in 50 USAID-assisted countries.

The U.S. business community and emerging markets have recognized the potential value of EMDAP advisers to their success in the global marketplace. While local entrepreneurs in developing countries strengthen their business skills and management practices, more internationally competent U.S. business executives are able to assist American companies in capitalizing on trade and investment opportunities in emerging markets.

Yvie Yao

Photo: Flickr