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UNLV to send business students to Cuba for new experience |

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UNLV to send business students to Cuba for new experience

For the first time, UNLV plans to send a group of students to Cuba. The trip is part of an educational experience through a business program on campus.

"I'm super excited," said Bruce Gil, a student at UNLV.

Gil is one of 13 UNLV students planning a trip to Cuba next summer.

"This is going to help me understand," Gil said. "It's going to open up my horizons and my perspective to see how other people live."

The Global Entrepreneurship Experience Program is offered as a minor for students interested in starting and growing new businesses. Every year, the program takes students out of the country to see and learn about other economies.

They've been to Poland and Panama, but for the first time in the program's history, their destination is Cuba.

"I think this is a great opportunity to hit a country that has had almost no relationship with the U.S., said Janet Runch, Global Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator.

Runch believes it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to experience a diversifying economy. Last year, President Barack Obama announced the United States would be renewing diplomatic relations with the Island Nation of Cuba. Renewing diplomatic relations will ease travel restrictions while allowing for some new business ventures.

"What I want students to understand is how a relationship begins," said Runch. "What are the opportunities for outreach? What are the business opportunities?"

Students and the two faculty members going will have to get tourist Visas to travel to the island and engage in educational activities legally. The plan is for the students to take everything they've learned in class on international entrepreneurship and see it for themselves.

"We will be spending three or four days in Havana, and we will be going hopefully to the U.S. Embassy," said Runch. "We will be meeting with Cuban government officials."

So far, the program has raised half their goal through a UNLV online campaign, but they are still about $15,000 short.

"It's a worthy cause," Runch said. "You're going to be helping Las Vegas business leaders."

To support these students, please contact Melissa Coetzee at melissa.watson-coetzee@unlv.edu or 702 895 1286.