College of Business Awarded Asia Grant

by Jim Foley, Director, Illinois SBDC International Trade Center Director


The Turner Center in Bradley University's Foster College of Business Administration has been awarded nearly $200,000 by the United States Department of Education to implement a two-year program called Project Asia. The grant in the amount of $89,000 for the first year of the project will fund the first graduate and undergraduate study abroad programs in India at Bradley. In addition, the project will lead to a cooperative agreement between the Foster College and a Chinese university for faculty, students, business, and research exchanges.

"This grant will help address the need to increase business assistance for exports to Asia," said Congressman Ray LaHood. "I am pleased to see this collaboration between local, state, and federal organizations who will bring a greater international awareness to students and help improve the competitiveness of Illinois companies."

Project Asia will include faculty development through on-campus and overseas study in Asia with a focus on China and India. Asia business topics will be added to existing undergraduate and graduate curricula and new study abroad programs in India will be launched.

The current Executive MBA class will travel to India in fall 2008 visiting New Delhi and Chennai. Visits to both cities will include cultural and business visits. A similar trip will be offered during Spring break 2009 for undergraduate students as part of a planned new course - IB205 Business in Indian Culture. The format of IB205 will be similar to current Foster College of Business Administration led study abroad courses to Mexico and China in which the travel is embedded in the middle of the Spring semester. This offers a chance for in-depth study of the country prior to the trip, and integration of the overseas experience into the course after returning from the trip.

"To compete in business today, students must have a broad awareness of many cultures around the world. The curriculum must have a strong international component," said Dr. Rob Baer, dean of the Foster College of Business Administration. "Project Asia will allow us to develop additional cultural opportunities for students as well as add to the international business services available to central Illinois business owners."

Business assistance programs will include the development and offering of training workshops on doing business in India and China and the development of in-depth training and assistance programs to assist companies in the process of becoming export ready. The training will focus on product compliance, packaging, translation issues, documentation, and free trade agreement compliance.

Supporting partners in Project Asia include the College of Engineering and Technology, Illinois Trade Office at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Council for Central Illinois, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, and the American Hardware Manufacturers Association.

For more information, please contact Jim Foley at (309) 677-3075 or send him an email.