IC2 Institute

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States visited campus Friday to explore commercialization partnerships with UT and Ecuadorian business interests.

Hosted by the University’s IC2 Institute, the event allowed students to meet with Ambassador Nathalie Cely Suárez.

Suárez said both the U.S. and Ecuador can learn from each other with a stronger partnership.

“I admire the generosity of this citizens here,” Suárez said. “There are more than 1 million Ecuadorians in this country, and as I say, ‘I have a million reasons to get closer and move forward in the relationship.’”

Gregory Pogue, the interim deputy director at the IC2 Institute, said the University provides students the opportunity to specialize in certain areas.

“In the business school, UT has the top accounting program in the U.S., and they have a specialization in energy accounting that is also quite unique, much like the law school,” Pogue said. “This represents another specialization where accounting students learn to manage both partnerships and large company-based accounting principles which differ due to how structures of energy work.”

Pogue said one the institution’s goals is to improve international economic development.

“IC2 has been interacting with Ecuador for 12 years,” Pogue said. “We are looking to establish a broader relationship to promote entrepreneurship and launch engagement of new companies. This really links to a big goal the president has: to stop Ecuador from being just a raw product producer but produce finished goods. We think business engagement is critical, and students are the key.”

Suárez said she hopes international students make the most out of their experiences in Austin.

“Study, work hard and network,” Suárez said. “We need young multicultural global citizens like you will become, and we need many of you back home, so make sure you come back.”

Photo Credit: Aaron Berecka | Daily Texan Staff

The number of black-owned businesses in Texas is growing, but the businesses remain smaller than the state’s average, according to a report released Thursday by the Bureau of Business Research of the IC2 Institute at the University.

Bruce Kellison, associate director of the bureau and lead author of the report, presented the report to Jim Wyatt, chairman of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce on the south steps of the Texas Capitol on Thursday morning.

A large crowd, including state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, and President William Powers Jr., gathered in honor of Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the day — June 19, 1865 — that news of the emancipation of slaves reached Texas.

“Because we are a business organization, we imagine that Juneteenth signaled the beginning of black entrepreneurship in Texas,” Charles O’Neal, executive consultant for the association, said.

Powers said it was important to include every segment of the business community in Texas, including the African American business community, in order to maintain the long-term trajectory of the Texas economy.

Black-owned businesses are a growing segment of the Texas economy, rising from 5 percent to 7 percent of all Texas businesses between 2002 and 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau of Statistics.

“I’m so proud that the University of Texas could be a part of this,” Powers said. “We won’t know what we should be doing until we know what the lay of the land is.”

At the event, Kellison highlighted some of the key findings of the survey and suggested some goals toward which policy makers and business makers could unite. The report, which surveyed 914 black business owners, found training in accounting and finance as well as access to capital were the two key areas for training and challenges to overcome.

“Educational programs should target black business owners in the service and construction sectors,” Kellison said. “These sectors appear to be strengths of the black business community already and dovetail nicely with the general diversification of the Texas economy.”

A similar report on Hispanic business owners was issued in 2012.

Terry Bell, CEO of Enhanced Production Technologies and an attendee of the event, said he thought it was important to motivate a collection of people to join in efforts to improve the business landscape.

“The significance of the report is first a starting basis of awareness,” Bell said. “Having press conferences like this and having surveys are the first steps to look at how we bring balance into our nation as a melting pot of various cultures.”

The complete report is available at http://ic2.utexas.edu.

Lead digital editor for the Economist, Tom Standage, speaks about the six drinks that influenced the way society developed at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Claire Trammel | Daily Texan Staff

Six drinks — beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola — have played major roles in defining history, Tom Standage, lead digital editor at The Economist, said in a lecture at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on Wednesday.

The lecture, cosponsored by the IC2 Institute, the Moody College of Communication and the McCombs School of Business, covered Standage’s new book, “A History of the World in 6 Glasses.”

According to Standage, beer was the first drink to shape history. He said that it was accidentally discovered with wheat and became so popular that it was one of the main contributing factors for the switch to agriculture from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Standage said that since beer was something that couldn’t be stored before 800 B.C., wine was created. According to Standage, the drink aided the creation of a sophisticated society and attributed to a separation of classes.

“You get a cultural and a social hierarchy as a result, where everyone drinks wine, but which wine you drink matches your social status,” Standage said.

Standage said spirits became prevalent for long journeys overseas and played a part in the economy of their time period because they were used as currency during the slave trade.

He said coffee was a revolutionary drink because coffeehouses were places where intellectuals would gather to discuss important topics.

“The coffeehouse that people go to discuss stock trades was eventually what created the London Stock Exchange,” Standage said.

Spanish freshman Sofia Mitre said she believes Standage’s ideas are plausible and thinks students should look into fresh ideas that are presented on campus through lectures.

“It’s definitely a nontraditional way of thinking,” Mitre said. “I think it’s always important to look at things in various perspectives and create your own [opinions] instead of accepting what one person tells you or what one textbook says.”

Bruce Kellison, associate director of the IC2 Institute, said he believes Standage’s style of thinking is important, which is why he helped bring him to UT.

“It makes history come alive and accessible,” Kellison said. “It brings in three very active departments on campus who are interested in these topics but in a new and fresh way.”