"One of the things that fascinates me is how industries get created," says Wes Sine, J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship and Personal Enterprise. "The generation of new ideas, new ways of doing things, recognizing and solving new problems—that's what entrepreneurship is all about. I'm convinced that it's a process of creation rather than one of discovery."
This year, on a sabbatical leave at INCAE Business School in Managua, Nicaragua, Sine is studying micro-entrepreneurs and micro-financing in Latin America. "I see entrepreneurship as the way we'll bridge the wealth gap and help people around the world progress economically," he says. His work in Latin America fits into his ten-year stream of research on the creation of industries: alternative energy, the Internet, management consulting, soft drinks, and others.
Sine's current research is supported by several grants—from Cisco, Cornell's Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell's Institute for the Social Sciences, and the J. Thomas Clark Professorship.
His excitement about entrepreneurship is matched by his enthusiasm for his colleagues and students. "Cornell is amazing because it's full of very, very smart people who are open to talking across disciplines. I routinely talk to people in engineering, physics, industrial and labor relations, computer science, toxicology, environmental science, sociology, and other areas, as well as my colleagues in various business disciplines. They are all happy to help me learn about their fields and to learn about mine. "
In March, Sine led a weeklong trek to Colombia, where students gained insight into that economy. They undertook projects with peers from Universidad de los Andes and met with Vice President Francisco Santos Calderon and leaders in banking and other industries. Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutiérrez, MBA '85, played an instrumental role in making this experience successful.
In Colombia, as in his classes on campus, Sine finds that: "Our MBAs really want to learn. They ask good questions. They have an astounding breadth of experience. I often feel that we are all learning together."
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