Entrepreneurship and research have been at the core of Susana Fuertes’ studies at FIU Business, and also her personal life. In September she will take both to the Kingdom of Bahrain as part of the Fulbright scholarship.
Fuertes, who graduates from FIU Business this summer with a BBA in marketing, will conduct a 10-month research project studying the Asian country’s small-medium enterprise programs, which help entrepreneurs start, run and grow a business and boost local economies.
Her focus: women entrepreneurs.
As part of her “Analyzing Pathways of Creating Sustainable and Effective Business Incubators for Women Entrepreneurs” research, Fuertes explained that she will conduct interviews with the women as well as observe a process that includes training, coaching, incubation and financing.
“I’m most excited about meeting business owners, learning the stories of how they overcame challenges, exploring their culture,” said Fuertes, who will also examine the business environment, developing skills and promoting innovation.
Fuertes is no stranger to the challenges of starting a business. Barely three months after opening the doors of “Enamor Creations” floral boutique, COVID-19 forced Fuertes to convert the storefront into an online business. She started the online undergraduate marketing program at FIU Business and graduated in fall 2022.
As part of her Fulbright obligations, Fuertes will prepare two reports, one mid-year and one at the conclusion of her project, she said, adding that these should make their way as far as the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Upon her return, Fuertes will share what she has learned with the South Florida community through organizations such as The Entrepreneur Center at the Urban League of Broward County and the Florida Women's Business Center.
“My main goal is coming back prepared to offer contracting services for private sector or government entrepreneurship programs,” Fuertes said.
The Fulbright scholarship, considered one of the most prestigious international educational exchange programs in the United States, allows university students and recent graduates to engage in research, teaching and related activities that deepen individuals’ skills and strengthen ties with people in other countries.
Fuertes, who will work with scholars at Bahrain Polytechnic and Ahlia University, encourages other students to explore the Fulbright scholarship and similar opportunities that allows for increased growth.
"It's necessary to act, embrace new opportunities and not to be afraid of the unknown" I didn't learn about Fulbright until two months to the deadline… Just go for it."
Susana Fuertes is collecting books published by FIU faculty that will be gifted to Bahrain Polytechnic school’s library. Contributions can be made at FIU Global, PC-520. Contact: Birgitta Rausch-Montoto.