Bonita Kolb, Ph.D., associate professor of business administration at Lycoming College, is serving as an industry expert that will help Grenadian entrepreneurs develop businesses that showcase traditional cultural and creative products to tourists. The project, sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), will enhance the socio-economic potential of the Caribbean region.
The project takes a new approach to economic development by promoting new businesses that offer an expanding range of heritage products while making sure each country’s resources are carefully managed for long-term sustainability.
“I am inspired by the determination of the people I met to develop businesses that will provide a family-sustaining income while promoting their local heritage to visitors to their country,” Kolb said. “I also expect to learn as much as I teach and look forward to applying what I learn to my work at Lycoming College.”
Kolb has already started work on the initiative by meeting with the other two industry experts on the team: Naomi Darling, a professor of architecture at the University of Massachusetts, who specializes in sustainable urban development, and Erika Harms, a Costa Rican expert on sustainability certification in the tourism industry. The trio met for the first time in October on the island nation of Grenada to begin planning efforts. The project is being managed by Coherit Associates, a sustainable heritage consultancy, which received the OAS funding for the two-year program.
While in Grenada, Dr. Kolb also met with officials from the national trust, education representatives and local business owners to learn more about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and to offer advice on how to overcome them. Once the initial program, which includes an educational component, has been piloted in Grenada, it will be rolled out to all Caribbean nations.