Babson Announces Manizales-Plus; Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project Key To Colombia's Future

Jul 19, 2012, 16:24 ET from Babson College

WELLESLEY, Mass., July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Manizales Colombia Mayor Jorge Rojas, and Babson Global's professor of entrepreneurship practice, Daniel Isenberg, jointly announced today the launch of the "Manizales-Plus Project." A collaboration of the leading public and private institutions in Manizales and Babson Global, the four-year project will foster high growth entrepreneurship in the city of Manizales, Colombia. The Manizales-Plus Project (Manizales-Mas in Spanish) will be one of the first urban implementations of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Strategy for stimulating high growth entrepreneurship that Professor Isenberg and Babson Global have been developing since 2009. The project will seek to enrich the city's entrepreneurship ecosystem to support ambitious entrepreneurs in rapidly starting new ventures, while accelerating and scaling existing ones. In addition to the City of Manizales, project partners include the five SUMA consortium universities (listed below), the Luker Foundation, Incubar, Parquesoft, the Manizales Chamber of Commerce, and the Caldas Entrepreneurs Network.

Manizales has a population of about 400,000 people and is located in the heart of the Coffee District of Colombia, a triangle of states including Caldas. The capital of the district, Manizales was founded in 1849 by Antioquian pioneers who left their homes to escape civil war and search for agricultural opportunities and a better quality of life. The founders' emphasis on education and culture contributed to the city's concentration of highly regarded universities, international design and jazz festivals, and safe environment. Although it is home to some of the world's best coffees, Manizales suffered a rise in unemployment and decrease in standards of living when the coffee markets contracted about 30 years ago.

"Manizales+ has the potential to be a big success," commented Professor Isenberg, a leading authority on entrepreneurship ecosystems. "The city has a very promising combination of a norm of collaboration among private and public sector institutions, a strong work ethic, a large student population, a culture of artistic creativity, and a safe environment."

Jorge Rojas, the newly elected mayor of Manizales, commented that the Manizales+ project is critical to the city's future. "Our motto is cree, crea, crece: believe, create, and grow. This is what we want to tell entrepreneurs of all ages and types in our city. Believe in yourselves that you can create something new that the world will buy, and become big. The municipality, in collaboration with all of the city's public and private sector organizations, will do everything we can to make Manizales fertile ground for Manizales entrepreneurs to plant the seeds that will grow into big companies."

Len Schlesinger, president of Babson College, congratulated the city on its partnership with Babson: "I am personally very excited at the launch of this partnership. I believe it will quickly become one of the most significant demonstrations that entrepreneurial thought and action is a method that can be implemented systematically throughout the world to help foster robust entrepreneurship ecosystems. I am proud that Babson is a partner of the Manizales+ project."

Professor Isenberg is a recognized authority in global entrepreneurship, having taught at Harvard, Columbia, Insead, and Technion, and he has been a venture capitalist, angel investor, and policy advisor.

More information about Manizales+ can be found at

About SUMA

SUMA is a local consortium of 5 national, private, and local universities that share students, faculty, and other resources. The partners in SUMA include the University of Caldas, The Autonomous University of Manizales, the Catholic University, the National University of Columbia and the University of Manizales. The collective student population is about 25,000 students.

About Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP)

The Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project (BEEP) is part of Babson Global, the global action research subsidiary of Babson College and the world leader in entrepreneurship education.  BEEP creates projects around the world to foster substantially greater levels of entrepreneurship in specific regions. For more information contact Dr. Isenberg at More information can be found at and Daniel Isenberg has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.

SOURCE Babson College