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This week I am leaving Rochester and traveling to Croatia where I will be teaching a business course for the Rochester Institute of Technology Study Abroad program. The course is Sustainable Small Business which is a hybrid of entrepreneurship, marketing, commercialization, and sustainability.

My plan is to divide the class into two teams and have them form their own Croatia-based food products export business. Using the lessons that I will be teaching, the teams will identify potentially appropriate Adriatic regional processed food items for export back to domestic U.S. grocery channel and retail customers.

I have partnered with a major Mediterranean food importation firm to act as our industry and distribution adviser for the student teams. Also, we will be working with a large east-coast grocery chain that will add value to our students as the retail and voice-of-customer (VOC) adviser for these new business ventures. The generous real world industry and channel partner information provided by these companies will provide a level of richness and real-world experience that is unattainable in a purely classroom environment.

The combination of business AND food will be incredibly educational for both the students and this instructor. As a die-hard foodie, having the opportunity to troll the Adriatic coast, exploring wineries, farms, restaurants, and stores will be a culinary dream come true. At the end of the day, who knows, we just might be able to find something new and novel that could actually be shipped to the United States for sale and distribution. Hey, you never know!

~Rob Vlosky

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