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Cisco and Colombian Government Announce Entrepreneur Institute


Cisco Kicks Off Initiative with Colombian Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and the National Training Service Center

BOGOTA, Colombia - Cisco today announced the establishment of the Cisco® Entrepreneur Institute in Colombia to help entrepreneurs from small and medium-sized businesses improve their business skills and learn how to use information and communications technology. The Cisco Entrepreneur Institute is supported by the Colombian government and is scheduled to open its doors in January 2009.

The first training center will be the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje, or SENA (National Training Service Center), which will bring the courses from the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute to 12 SENA centers in Antioquia and Bogotá in early 2009. Starting in the second half of 2009, SENA will bring the content from the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute to all of its 115 training centers around the country with the aim of training close to 5,000 entrepreneurs within the next 12 months.

“ICT is a key element for the entrepreneurial productivity. Initiatives like the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, a public-private partnership, show the country’s commitment and continued effort to be more competitive,” said Luis Guillermo Plata, the Colombian minister of industry, commerce and tourism. “Entrepreneurs and SMB owners now have a training tool available that provides true value to their professional career as business professionals, including how to start and grow a business.”

The Colombian Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, through its Red Nacional de Emprendimiento (National Network of Entrepreneurship), will initially open one SENA training center in Antioquia and then expand the initiative nationally. Cisco expects to open 20 Entrepreneur Institutes in Colombia.

The Entrepreneur Institute falls within the framework of the agreement between Cisco and the Colombian Ministry of Industry and the SENA early this year. The agreement seeks to contribute to the development of small and medium-sized businesses through the use of information technology and knowledge sharing.

“This collaboration with Cisco strengthens SENA’s policy, which is to promote entrepreneurial spirit. SENA participants who take advantage of guidance from business experts to structure their business plans add value to their own innovative ideas and can assess the potential of their own businesses. This helps turn them into productive units that generate wealth, new jobs and income,” said Dario Montoya Mejia, director general of SENA.

“These are the key elements that add value to nascent businesses and differentiate them from other companies that have been created without the benefit of this formal structure,” Mejia added.

Simbad Ceballos, the general manager of Cisco Colombia, said: “In Colombia the entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing, and we need to be sure we have the ability to help achieve its maximum potential by encouraging diversification and innovation. Cisco is very proud to sponsor this initiative to help build the entrepreneurial capacity of the country.”

Cisco Entrepreneur Institute courses, which will teach successful entrepreneurial practices, will be delivered through a combination of e-learning, in- person workshop attendance and audiovisual material. Participants will have access to Web 2.0 technologies and advanced open-source tools such as Moodle and will also use collaboration technologies such as Cisco WebExTM for a rich learning experience.

For more information on the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute please visit:
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