Richard Ivey School of Business

Richard Ivey School of Business

January 26, 2006 12:01 ET

Excess Aeroplan Points Can Create Jobs in Emerging Regions

Ivey MBA Students Teach Business in Transitioning Economies Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Education Editor LONDON, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 26, 2006) - Excess Aeroplan Points Can Create Jobs in Emerging Regions

In transitioning economies, job growth is often fueled by local entrepreneurs. For 14 years, students at the Richard Ivey School of Business have been helping educate students and entrepreneurs to spark economic improvement in their lives.

Since 1991, more than 600 MBA students have traveled to transitioning economies as part of the LEADER project; teaching intensive one-month business programs to more than 6,000 university students and entrepreneurs.
Last year the student instructors visited 10 sites across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, and helped more than 400 students and entrepreneurs build fundamental and foundational business decision making skills.
Most of the costs involved with operating LEADER come from the flights to and from the sites. This year, LEADER has partnered with Aeroplan so that members of Aeroplan can donate points towards flights for students traveling to each site.

"Aeroplan is glad to facilitate the transfer of miles in support of the LEADER project. We are pleased to support this initiative and the philosophy of sharing knowledge which this program embodies," said Alden Hadwen, Manager, Community Investment, Aeroplan.

Aeroplan members can donate points by filling out a form and faxing it back to the students. Details and instructions can be found at

The OECD has found that in many transitioning economies, more than 60% of job growth is created by small- and medium-sized businesses operated by local entrepreneurs.

Participants learn from Ivey's leading research and curriculum in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation. There have been many success stories - a few are profiled here.

The first success story is Sergiu's Snail Farm. Young entrepreneur Sergiu grows snails in Moldova for the Western European Market. Sergiu's Snail Farm was the winner of the national business plan competition. Already active in the snail industry prior to LEADER, Sergiu was able to make further enhancements to his plan that has enabled him to launch his business. Sergiu is a self-effacing student who graciously accepted the advice of the LEADER team to help improve the feasibility of his operation.

Intelligent Partnership was formed as a marketing firm and has since worked on such projects as promoting a work and live program for Moldovan students in the United States. They actively seek foreign partners to help promote Moldovan trade. They can be found on the internet at: The LEADER project helped these four individuals realize their dream.

Impuls Media took flight last spring following the Entrepreneur Module of the LEADER Project. It is focused on restroom advertising in the abundant restaurant and night club industry in Chisinau, Moldova. The team from Impuls has recognized an opportunity within the city and hopes to move quickly to secure restaurant contracts before more established competitors move in.

LEADER is a non-profit organization founded and operated entirely by students from the Richard Ivey School of Business. The group, Leading Education and Development in Emerging Regions, has a mission to drive economic development and build sustainable social institutions in emerging and transitioning economies around the world.
The LEADER project is founded on the belief that the true drivers of economic growth are grassroots entrepreneurial activity and the ability to take ownership of problem solving. LEADER teachers use a combination of case-based teaching and one-on-one consultation to encourage participants to build their business problem solving skills.

In the past 14 years, LEADER instructors have gone on to be leaders of industry around the world, from partners at worldwide consulting firms, to directors of non-profits and NGOs, to leading academics, and senior officers in global banks. The students in our host countries have gone on to be equally successful; using the foundational tools and skills that we have provided them to start successful entrepreneurial ventures in media, agriculture, financial services, and professional services.


For more information:

Andrew Dooner,
MBA Candidate 2006,
Richard Ivey School of Business

Marisa Kanas,
Communications Coordinator
Richard Ivey School of Business
/For further information: Mary Weil, Manager Media & Public Relations, 416-586-1906, IN: EDUCATION, INTERNATIONAL, MEDIA

Contact Information

  • Marisa Kanas, Communications Coordinator, Richard Ivey School of Business
    Primary Phone: 519-850-2536