FHSU students and professors travel to Barbados

Over 30 freshmen from the College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s learning communities, 4C Innovation and Everybody’s Business, at Fort Hays State University (FHSU), traveled to Barbados in April to work with the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Youth Entrepreneurship. Traveling with the students were learning communities’ faculty leaders Jessica Heronemus, instructor of Accounting, and Angela Walters, associate professor in the Department of Informatics, along with Stacey Smith, Director of the FHSU Tourism and Hospitality Management Program and Andy Tincknell, FHSU video production specialist.

While in Barbados, the students helped young entrepreneurs on the island with their businesses. They worked on a large variety of projects including a fish farm, a catering service, a deli in a local hospital, a modeling agency, an iron fencing manufacturer, an e-waste recycling company, a printer of commercial signs and customized apparel, and several local produce farmers. While some of the students performed manual labor, others built websites, established systems for their entrepreneurs to track costs and/or inventory, and helped with some preliminary research as to whether or not to expand into a new product line.  Some students even assisted with the preparation of business plans and/or helped to establish realistic/recommended levels of financing.

The students were able to learn self-worth and a different perspective on what is possible in their future. Many students commented on how they felt helping these young entrepreneurs made them realize that they have skills that are of value and felt really good about how they were able to apply skills they have learned in their short time at FHSU. This was not just a growing experience for the students in their schooling but also as young adults. For many of them, this was the first time they traveled internationally and gaining some confidence through experience in a different culture is empowering. Many were nervous at first, but by the end of the trip they were talking about other places they would like to travel.

“So these students not only got to see the country through the eyes of a tourist, they were also emerged in the economic environment and learning the business community as well,” states Dr. Smith.

“We felt that this was an excellent international opportunity for our students in a way that helps others and provides them with a positive learning experience outside the classroom,” said Walters.  “We were very fortunate to have a donor who believes in our students and provided the funding to make it happen.”

Austin Foster from the 4C Innovation learning community said, “When you look at Fort Hays’ motto as forward thinking world ready, this opportunity gives you direct contact with the world, the world that I didn’t have any prior knowledge about. It is putting you into the environment and I feel like there is no better way to learn about the environment then to be there. So, I would say that it fits Fort Hays’ motto pretty much perfectly.”

There is talk about continuing these learning trips in the future, and the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Youth Entrepreneurship has indicated a strong need for assistance in Saint Vincent.

Everybody's Business and 4C Innovation - Barbados Video

Fort Hays State University’s flag waves on the beach in Barbados.
Fort Hays State University’s flag waves on the beach in Barbados.

The entire group from Fort Hays State University that traveled to Barbados.
The entire group from Fort Hays State University that traveled to Barbados.

Tommy Moeder, peer mentor for Everybody’s Business, helps an entrepreneur with his finances.
Tommy Moeder, peer mentor for Everybody’s Business, helps an entrepreneur with his finances.

Tyler Grant and Austin Foster, 4C Innovation, assist a young entrepreneur with her business plan.
Tyler Grant and Austin Foster, 4C Innovation, assist a young entrepreneur with her web presence.

Katie Hindman, Everybody’s Business, and Trish Goetz, peer mentor for Everybody’s Business, helps young entrepreneurs set up excel worksheets.
Katie Hindman, Everybody’s Business, and Trish Goetz, peer mentor for Everybody’s Business, helps young entrepreneurs set up excel worksheets.

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