Making an impact abroad: Students provide business development workshops to entrepreneurs in Barbados

Making an impact abroad: Students provide business development workshops to entrepreneurs in Barbados

By Michelle Tulande

Making an impact abroad: Students provide business development workshops to entrepreneurs in Barbados

By Michelle Tulande
Miami Herbert students visit Barbados to provide local entrepreneurs with a series of business development workshops.

Costa Rica, Belize, Peru, and Jamaica are only a few of the countries that have been touched by the Hyperion Council.

Open only to University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School students, the Hyperion Council is an undergraduate student organization that focuses on helping micro, small for-profit, and not-for-profit companies in at-risk communities improve and develop their business practices.

Since its inception in 2002, the Hyperion Council has worked with local businesses and organizations like Mentoring America, an organization working to close the gap between underfunded and funded high schools, and aīre ventures, a social impact venture studio that scales technology and innovation solutions to systemic gaps in access, opportunity, and racial equity.

Through workshops and activities spanning accounting, finance, technology, social media, and even sustainability, local entrepreneurs have seen tangible results in their efforts after implementing strategies shared by the Hyperion Council.

From price adjustments to helping businesses grow sustainably, the Hyperion Council’s efforts have had a significant impact on the processes of the enterprises they’ve worked with, which are often founded and managed by underrepresented minorities in underserved areas. Many of the Hyperion Council’s efforts in recent years have also centered on helping businesses recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a commitment to global citizenship, international projects are an integral part of the Hyperion Council.

This year, five Titans, a moniker for Hyperion Council members, traveled to Barbados for one week and conducted an entrepreneurial development workshop series for fifteen Barbadian entrepreneurs.

The small but mighty group of student consultants consisted of recent undergraduate graduates and rising seniors, Jordyn Desir, Alison Granirer, Laura Hopman, Harsh Shah, and Mikaela Sanders, and they were guided by Miami Herbert professor, Esteban Petruzzello.

In partnership with Tradewind Tankers and Barbados National Oil Company Limited, the Hyperion Council developed and facilitated workshops and one-on-one consulting focused on social media marketing, finance, accounting, and sustainability for entrepreneurs spanning a variety of industries. A woman-owned barbershop, human resources consulting services, a jewelry shop, and a massage therapy establishment were amongst the businesses participating in the workshops.

Jordyn Desir, a Miami Herbert B.B.A. in Health Management recent graduate, was selected as the project lead and responsible for spearheading activities throughout the group’s time in Barbados.

“This trip was an important reminder that it is never too late to do what you are passionate about,” said Desir, who has been involved with the Hyperion Council for two years. “Many of the entrepreneurs had full-time jobs, one even had over 20 years of experience as a lawyer, others were already deep into their entrepreneurship journey and were just stuck at a standstill, especially after being impacted by the pandemic.”

Desir founded her own baking business in Saint Lucia when she was 10 years old, Sweet Treats by Jordyn, and was thankful to share her personal experience and formal business knowledge from Miami Herbert and the Hyperion Council with the local entrepreneurs. She attributed the overall success of the trip to the support of the group’s faculty advisor, Esteban Petruzzello.

Professor Petruzzello has been with the University of Miami for eight years and started advising the Hyperion Council in 2022.

“Being a member of the Hyperion Council is extremely valuable to the students because they can immediately apply business concepts they’ve learned in the classroom, to real businesses in a way that creates an incalculable social value both locally and abroad,” said Petruzzello.

After weeks of gathering information about the community partners, and then presenting the entrepreneurs with the workshops, students had the opportunity to explore Barbados through a guided snorkel tour, sightseeing, and visiting the fish fry at the fishing town, Oistins.

Miami Herbert students can apply to join the Hyperion Council in their sophomore year during the fall semester.