Dana Lascu, professor of marketing, spent her Thanksgiving in Eldoret, Kenya, at Moi University, co-chairing the Academy for Global Business Advancement conference.

“This conference is one of the few whose primary focus is emerging markets,” Lascu said. “Among the topics investigated at the conference was the creative adaptation of business to a challenging infrastructure in low-income countries.”

She and the other conference organizers chose the theme “Business and Entrepreneurship Development in a Globalized Era” to explore the changing landscape of emerging markets worldwide, with a particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa.

“We looked at regional, economic, and political integration in sub-Saharan Africa,” Lascu said. “There are exciting developments as a result of regional agreements between countries, in particular, for the common markets in the region.”

The Academy for Global Business Advancement is a is global association of professionals in the fields of business administration, commerce, economics, entrepreneurship, information technology, tourism, hospitality, and recreational sectors. Lascu says she has been a member for many years, but this was her first time chairing the Academy’s global conference. She had previously served as Program Chair and Conference Director. 

Lascu joined scholars from Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Malawi, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Kenya in sharing research on business changes across the globe.

Lascu says mobile money was one of the main topics of research, especially how it is changing the way business is done in the region.

“In emerging markets, mobile phones are used for most transactions: individuals register for service and deposit cash, then they use the electronic money deposited as they see fit, in transactions that are much safer than most typical transactions in a cash-based economies,” Lascu said.

“In these markets, you must also consider the challenging infrastructure. Often, there are no roads and there is limited access to markets, so how do you access consumers in remote areas?” 

She explained that individual entrepreneurs are creative in overcoming infrastructure and funding deficiencies, creating efficient processes that now even multinationals are adopting.

“Now we are really seeing quite a bit of entrepreneurship everywhere,” Lascu said. “And Kenya is the heart of innovation for companies that are rethinking how business is done in emerging markets, and how they’re serving their customers.”

Lascu says she takes everything she learns at international conferences like these, and brings it back to the classroom.

“I feel that I’m better prepared for my classes, because this isn’t the kind of thing you can read about in a textbook,” Lascu said. “And now, I’m able to contribute all the knowledge I’ve acquired from the conference to my courses.”

She is currently working with a Robins School student on research into mobile money transactions in low- and middle-income countries. She also plans to work on research with doctoral students from Kenya. 

“Working with doctoral students helps me connect with young prospective faculty who are willing to work very hard and create knowledge,” Lascu said.