On Monday, Oct. 17, Associate Professor and John and Bruce Mooty Chair in Law & Business Paul M. Vaaler from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota presented a lecture entitled “Migrants and Venture Investment in Developing Countries: How are they related?” in the Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science at 4:30 p.m.
The event was jointly sponsored by the environmental studies department, the Spoerl Lecture Series on science and technology, as well as the Povolny Lecture Series in international studies and the innovation and entrepreneurship program.
Vaaler, a graduate of Carleton College in the field of medieval history, earned a Master of Arts in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University. He completed his education with a Juris Doctorate at Harvard University and a subsequent Ph.D. in strategic management at the University of Minnesota.
Vaaler is now the chair of law and business at the University of Minnesota and is researching and investing time in the entrepreneurship of foreign migrants. His discussion centered around the impact that is now being made globally due to the financial activities of foreign migrants in the diaspora of international communities in the United States and around the world.
“The word ‘migrant’ must be used in a very broad sense,” Vaaler suggested. “These are people who are living in a country where they were not born and raised, or they could even be individuals who show transience in terms of residence.”
Vaaler further postulated that the activities of the migrant populations living in foreign countries should interest business schools because they are involved with a large portion of the functions that can be associated with new entrepreneurship.
Vaaler also stated that a lot is known in regards to what diaspora populations do within their country of residence, but very little is known with regards to what those populations invest in or spend back in their home countries or their country of origin.
Foreign remittance, according to Vaaler, not only aids in the primary subsistence of the recipients back in migrants’ home countries, but it also promotes economic growth through the financing of small businesses. Alongside funding, in most cases there is also an exporting of ideas to the migrant’s country of origin, which further promotes development and the stride towards positive globalization.
He informed his audience that foreign remittance alone involved a $400 to $500 billion cash flow worldwide, which, if honed positively, can bring development to many impoverished nations.
Vaaler ended his speech by encouraging Lawrence students to pursue entrepreneurial goals that may help migrants send remittance back to their countries of origin more efficiently. “In this way,” added Vaaler, “small businesses can receive the funding they need in order to grow and help the economies of the states in which the investments take place.”