Virtual business school makes real success story


17 Feb 2004

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A virtual business school operating out of Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, is making great waves in the e-learning world and has signed up international trade development training deals with governments ranging from Mongolia and Uzbekistan to the Czech Republic and the Ukraine. The company is also working with the University of California to adopt its syllabus as part of an extension programme.

The Electronic Business School of Ireland (eBSI), which was founded in 1999 by managing director Vincent O’Brien’s umbrella company GTI learning, specialises in deploying blended learning in specialist areas of International Trade over the internet. Their one year International Trade Specialist (ITS) Accreditation Programme is accredited in Ireland by the Irish Exporters Association and its education arm, the Institute of International Trade of Ireland and in the Czech Republic by CzechTrade, the Czech Trade Promotion Organisation.

The one-year course trains executives in the areas of export market entry strategy, trade and customs practice, finance of international trade and e-business for international trade.

Thomas Smith of the eBSI told siliconrepublic.com that the company currently has over 280 students in more than 20 countries studying on its online campus. The company is conducting business with governments and businesses in Mongolia, Kyrgistan, Uzbekistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Malaysia, Australia, Belarus, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, Sweden, the UK and the US.

According to Smith, the company is planning to enter the Chinese market very soon and in recent months has partnered with the California-based Monterrey Bay International Trade Association. “Basically we will be working with them to adapt a programme of what we do that will work as an extension programme with the University of California,” Smith explained.

“We are a small company operating out of the West of Ireland, but in a short time we have established a broad international reach,” Smith explained, adding that although the company is in its early stages it has succeeded in turning over a reasonable revenue.

“Occasionally we send company representatives to the various countries to deliver a week-long training programme. A key feature of our one year ITS Programme is where students interact online with their learning guides and specialist advisors while developing Industry Trade Study papers focused on achieving defined business objectives ,” Smith said.

In December last year three of the graduates of the eBSI competed head-to-head for the China Systems Trophy 2003, an international competition organised by the international trade finance software provider, China Systems. The competition was won by Tom Grace, a materials planner at Naas-based manufacturer Magna Donnelly, who demonstrated how the correct application of international trade rules, procedures and customs as well as logistical planning can achieve savings and advance corporate competitiveness in the global market.

By John Kennedy