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ITC and Universidad de Lima Create New Partnership to Benefit Exporters and Entrepreneurs

December 20, 2019, 9:20 AM

Silvia Torres Bowman, director of the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center (ITC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Ricardo Perez-Luyo, director of international business programs at Universidad de Lima in Peru, established strategic activities based on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) duly signed between the respective universities, during Perez-Luyo’s visit to SIUE on December 2-3.

“The ITC is delighted to welcome Universidad de Lima as our brand-new partner," Torres Bowman said. “This new alliance will contribute with bringing new opportunities in trade and education for Peru and Illinois. We hope to build a solid bridge, forging connections between southern Illinois businesses, SIUE faculty and students with their Peruvian counterparts. I am confident this partnership will bring long-term benefits to our region and unique opportunities for our students.”PerezLuyo-TorresBowman-Schoenecker

“It’s a quite interesting pilot project that we have already started working on,” Perez-Luyo said. “The point is that students from our universities are going to create business plans for national and foreign companies. We are talking about the application of knowledge in a highly competitive market such as the United States, promoting not only trade but investments.”

With the use of technology, the pilot project is being developed to help small businesses increase their export/import capacities with the support of the Illinois SBDC ITC International Network and the participation of students, providing them with opportunities to garner experience in the areas of international trade and commerce.

This initial project seeks to combine some key areas, such as exchanging best practices, co-counseling clients, sharing trade data and delivering training programs.

Founded in 1962, Universidad de Lima has a top business school and is one of the most prestigious private universities in Peru with more than 20,000 students.

Perez-Luyo served as a keynote speaker for “Peru: A Friendly Country for Doing Business” at a welcoming luncheon held in Birger Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The Southwest Illinois Trade and Investment Council (SWITIC) sponsored the event, which was attended by SIUE faculty and students, as well as regional businesses and leaders from various economic development groups.

At the event, regional businesses learned more about how they can benefit from trading with Peru, named by Forbes magazine as the top third South American destination for doing business in 2019. The U.S.–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Illinois exports to Peru totaled $385.9 million in 2018, a 71% increase since 2009. Illinois ranks fifth among the 50 U.S. states in exports to Peru.

“It was a pleasure to meet with Ricardo during his visit to SIUE,” said Tim Schoenecker, PhD, SIUE School of Business dean. “We are looking to build a multifaceted partnership with UL that includes collaborative counseling for Peruvian and American businesses. We hope the relationship expands to include student exchanges between these two fine universities.”

Perez-Luyo has more than 35 years of experience in the fields of economics, international trade and finance, and accomplished work with small and medium-sized enterprises in Latin America. He has served in various consulting roles with the Peruvian Ministry of Economy and Finances, the Peruvian Ministry of Labor, and in 2019 as advisor to the vice minister of small and medium enterprise at the Ministry of Industry.

“Ricardo’s leadership, boundless energy and solid commitment to this new partnership will bring us even closer to our shared vision of connecting Peruvian and Illinois communities through international education, entrepreneurship and small business support,” Torres Bowman said. “I very much look forward to working with him in 2020 and beyond.”

Craig Eversmann, president of Marsh Shipping Supply Co., LLC in Collinsville and president of the Southwest Illinois Trade and Investment Council, sees opportunity. “It was a pleasure to host Ricardo at SIUE, learn about Peru, and how we can work together for each region’s mutual benefit. The similarities in terms of industry was striking and the synergies are high.”

Yuping Zeng, PhD, associate professor in the SIUE School of Business Department of Management and Marketing, envisions prospects for students. “We discussed the feasibility of using Zoom for UL students to participate in courses offered at SIUE and different ways of delivering courses online,” she said. “We agreed that providing opportunities for UL and SIUE students to interact with each other would lead to invaluable learning experiences. Mr. Perez Luyo was hopeful that such opportunities would emerge as the two universities move forward with the implementation of the partnership.”

Torres Bowman and Perez-Luyo are including the organization of inbound/outbound trade missions in their medium-term planning, in partnership with PROMPERU, other Peruvian government agencies and SWITIC.

Torres Bowman also pointed out that the American Chamber of Commerce in Peru (AmCham Peru) has announced a visit to southwest Illinois next year, leading a delegation of representatives from the public and private sectors. “We are looking forward to hosting AmCham Peru in 2020, nurturing opportunities for business, trade and investment development, and helping our local companies network with representatives from Peruvian firms,” she said.

For more than 35 years, the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at SIUE has been helping Illinois companies compete more effectively in the global marketplace. With a focus on Latin America, the ITC has been carefully developing its network of contacts and resources from public/private organizations in recent years.

The ITC is also working with SERCOTEC (Servicio de Cooperación Técnica), a division of Chile’s Ministry of Economy and Development, to develop a cooperative agreement to connect Chilean and southern Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs.

The partnerships with Universidad de Lima and SERCOTEC have directly resulted from Torres Bowman’s visits to Peru and Chile in March 2019. “Based on clients’ feedback, recent and ongoing trade developments, my personal and professional background (born, studied and worked in Lima, Peru), and the support of the Southwest Illinois Trade Council, I felt this year was the ideal timing to make a visit and personally connect with main trade organizations and renowned universities in South America, including Universidad de Lima and Universidad de Chile,” she said. “Currently, separate partnership agreements are in their final stages between the SIUE School of Business with Universidad de Lima and Universidad de Chile.

“Our investment has certainly paid off. I am thrilled that my alma mater and SIUE will soon be official partners,” said Torres Bowman, who obtained a bachelor’s in business administration from Universidad de Lima in the late 1980s.

The ITC is a member of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network. In 2013, the Small Business Network of Americas (SBNA) program was created. The White House and the State Department sponsor the SBNA program, which is designed to develop partnerships by expanding the SBDC model, providing a framework to connect with businesses in the Western Hemisphere.

“Consistent with and in support of the goals of the SBNA program, the MOU signed with Peru represents the latest contribution for promoting the SBDC model in Latin America, connecting businesses and entrepreneurs from Illinois and South America, engaging and inspiring their communities into establishing new solid and fruitful networks with the world,” Torres-Bowman said.

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at SIUE serves entrepreneurs and small businesses in southern Illinois by providing individualized, no-cost export advising, identification of foreign buyers, agents and/or distributors through trade leads, international market analysis and more. The ITC is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a service to the region’s entrepreneurial and business community.

As a key member of the Illinois SBDC Network, the International Trade Center delivers these important services to its clients while supporting the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.

Photo (L-R): Ricardo Perez-Luyo, director of international business programs at Universidad de Lima in Peru, Silvia Torres Bowman, director of the International Trade Center (ITC) at SIUE, and SIUE School of Business Dean Tim Schoenecker.


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The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a service to Illinois small businesses


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