Winning in emerging markets

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said on Thursday morning at Northeastern University that education, innovation and infrastructure drive the development of growing economies. Massachusetts, he added, has these traits in surplus, making the state an ideal business partner.

“There’s a great opportunity, it seems to me, in this globalized economy for Massachusetts in particular,” Patrick told business and academic leaders at the start of Northeastern’s fourth annual Emerging Markets Symposium, which was sponsored by the university’s Center for Emerging Markets. “This globalized economy is all about an explosion of knowledge, and we have that in spades.”

World-class research universities like Northeastern, Patrick said, not only drive the state’s economies but also make it an ideal business partner for emerging markets in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China.

He noted that an investment in education and innovation represents a long-term commitment to economic growth in Massachusetts, in the United States and in emerging markets worldwide.

“All of these things create jobs, but they also create a platform for future growth,” Patrick said in his remarks, which were followed by an open and engaging question-and-answer session with symposium attendees.

Patrick’s talk of economic development and job creation was not just rhetoric: He and his administration are supporting a component of pending economic development legislation, also known as the Speaker’s Jobs bill. About half of that $50 million proposal will be eligible for private research entities like Northeastern, which focuses on economic development at levels across the university, from the Center for Research Innovation to the student-run venture accelerator, IDEA.

Ravi Ramamurti, a Distinguished Professor of International Business and Strategy in the College of Business Administration and director of the Center for Emerging Markets, described the annual symposium as an outreach event for the greater Boston area’s business sector. The symposium, he said, was designed to share some of the field’s top academic research with on-the-ground business professionals.

“We do this to increase awareness of the importance of emerging markets for companies and individuals in Massachusetts and, more broadly, in the United States,” Ramamurti said. “This is an important field with enormous potential.”

Presenters at the symposium included Sanjay Mirchandani, the chief information officer and chief operation officer of EMC Corp.’s Global Center of Excellence.

Mirchandani stressed the importance of innovation — or, as he put it, “the lifeblood of companies like ours” — in a world where technology is both rapidly changing and becoming globally accessible because of advances like cloud computing. Leveling technology access, he said, may help teams around the world collaborate on the same projects, providing new opportunities within one company or between several.

“I don’t think anyone in the world has a monopoly on innovation or talent,” he said. “It has to be about working well together.”

The symposium also included presentations by Luis Bonnell, CEO of Liberty International, and Giri Chakravarthi, president, Emhart-Asia, of Black& Decker, on “Capturing Business in Emerging Markets: CEO Perspectives”; Michael Cantalino, a 2012 Northeastern business graduate, and Elizabeth A. Cherchia, a current student, on “Social Entrepreneurship in Africa: Personal Journeys”; Venetia Kontogouris, managing director of Venkon Group LLC, on “Venture Capital and Private Equity in Emerging Markets”; and Nigel Burton, chief marketing officer of Colgate-Palmolive, on “Serving Consumers in Emerging Markets Profitably.”