On May 28, undergraduate students from Nairobi, Kenya will arrive in Vancouver to participate in the inaugural UBC Sauder School – Strathmore University School of Management and Commerce Summer Business Program.

Their seven-day study tour will be the first to travel to UBC as part of an agreement signed with Strathmore in August 2015.

“We are excited to welcome the students,” said UBC Sauder Professor Thomas Ross, who has been a leader in collaboration between Sauder and Strathmore and in developing student programs in Kenya. “My hope is that this will continue and we’ll see more student exchanges, joint research, and collaboration on curriculum with our partners in Africa.”

The group of 11 students will interact with UBC Sauder students to share their perspectives on business. They’ll experience Vancouver culture, hear from local entrepreneurs and receive lectures by UBC Sauder faculty. It’s not all work, though – ice-skating lessons are also on the agenda.

While here, the school’s Dean, Dr. David Wang’ombe, will accompany the students.

For Ross, the visit is a significant milestone in UBC Sauder’s growing relationship with Strathmore University. The relationship grew out of Associate Professor Nancy Langton’s initiative, the Sauder Social Entrepreneurship program. Founded in 2005, the five-week program pairs students from UBC Sauder and Strathmore to share business skills with Kenyan youth developing their own ventures.

Ross is now the academic director of that program. Since its inception, more than 80 UBC Sauder students in the BCom, MBA, and Master of Management programs have travelled to Kenya, connecting with more than 450 entrepreneurs in two disadvantaged areas of Nairobi, Kibera and Mathare.

Ross has spent some time teaching at Strathmore and UBC Sauder Senior Associate Dean Darren Dahl is scheduled to teach there in September. Focusing on Kenya’s economy, Ross recently completed a research project investigating the country’s competition policy in collaboration with two Strathmore researchers, and is in discussions about a follow-up project.

“Kenya is a developing country with many unique challenges and opportunities,” said Ross. “As a country develops, a lot of its wealth will be generated by private enterprise, so you need businesses to be well run to maximize those benefits. By partnering with a strong African business school, we’re participating in that development while doing what we do best.  And, at the same time, we are learning from them about the differences of managing in a developing economy.”

UBC Sauder also has a partnership agreement with the Strathmore Business School, the graduate and executive education school at Strathmore University.