Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Sunday | August 23, 2009
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UWI Notebook
  • International exposure necessary for small businesses to succeed in markets overseas

    Small businesses which operate successfully at the international level are most likely to be owned or operated by persons who themselves have international job experience and foreign travel experience. The possession of these personal factors by the founders/operators of small businesses is more critical than age or education in determining whether the company will perform successfully at the international level. These are the main findings of a research paper 'Inter-nationalisation of Micro and Small Locally Owned Firms from Emerging Economies: The Role of Personal Factors', written by two lecturers in the Department of Management Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Densil A. Williams and Dr Derrick D. Deslandes. The paper received the 11th Annual ICSB/JSBM Editor's Choice Awards for Best Empirical Paper presented by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) and Journal of Small Business Management (JSBM) at the 2009 ICSB World Conference held in Seoul, South Korea, in July 2009. The paper examined the impact of personal factors on the ability of micro and small, locally owned firms from an emerging economy to becoming successful at the international level. It drew on the logistic regression model to analyse the probability of a firm operating at the international level, given that its founder/owner possesses certain personal attributes.

    Most critical factors

    The results revealed that personal factors, such as international job experience, and foreign travel experience are the most critical in determining whether or not the firm performs at an international level. The paper demonstrated that demographic factors, such as age and education level of the owner are less important, and behavioural factors are more significant. The lecturers argued that public policymakers who are interested in getting more firms to operate at the international level can use these results as a guide to develop training centres that would encourage specific entrepreneurial behaviours that are germane to internationalisation. According to the judges, the paper was selected based on the importance of the field of investigation, the development of innovative research methodology appropriate to the area of study objectives, and the clear conclusions drawn, with the implications for further research.


    The winning authors each received a plaque and a cheque for US$500. The International Council for Small Business was founded in 1955 and was the first international membership organisation to promote the growth and development of small businesses worldwide. The organisation brings together educators, researchers, policymakers and practitioners from around the world to share knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.

  • UWI researchers discover unique mangrove species

    A team of researchers at the University of the West Indies, Mona, has discovered a new species of sponge, a unique mangrove animal which they have named Haliclona portroyalensis. This discovery is valuable to science and will be disseminated to marine scientists across the world. The new species was discovered during an effort to protect the mangroves from further destruction.

    Jamaica's mangrove areas are perceived by many to be wastelands and a nuisance with many mosquito-infested swamps. This perception has led to the felling of trees, filling in of lagoons to make dry land and removal of large areas of forest.

    Productive areas

    Yet mangroves - notwithstanding this treatment - are some of the most productive areas in Jamaica and throughout the world. Their widespread rooting system anchors and holds the soil in place, thereby preventing coastal erosion and providing a home and food for many sea creatures. This home is really a nursery for many species, including shrimp and lobster, eaten by Jamaicans.

    When Jamaicans remove large areas of the mangrove, it results in reduced numbers of fish available for food and loss of sea creatures found nowhere else in the world. Another major problem is the loss of protection from coastal erosion caused by hurricanes.

    Senior lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences, Dr Mona Webber, and her team from the Port Royal Marine Laboratory, became concerned about the effects of the destruction and embarked upon a public education campaign to alert the users of the mangrove to the value of the mangrove and the need to conserve it by using it wisely. Through a project funded by the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), the researchers were able to produce illustrated pamphlets informing people of the plants and animals found in the mangroves.

    Educational tours

    At the Port Royal Lab, the researchers have set up tanks showing the plants and animals which live in the mangroves and how they interrelate. Schools, interest groups and the public at large are invited to see how the animals live and what they need to survive. In addition, the team conducts educational boat tours into the Port Royal mangroves. A specially prepared CD-ROM with information about the value and wise use of the mangroves has also been produced and is being distributed to schools throughout Jamaica.

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