Under the direction of Professor Carolyn McKnight and Kim Alter, Managing Director of Virtue Ventures (www.virtueventures.com) seven MBA students, one MIM student, one Conflict Resolution student and one PSU faculty set out on a twelve day course on Social Enterprise. Set in Bhimavaram and Hyderabad India this course is not for the meek or timid as everyday is a day in the “classroom”. Everyone on the trip is dealing with personal sickness, exhaustion and the emotional struggle of coming face to face with extreme poverty. This group is braving all of these elements in an effort to learn how Social Enterprise can be part of the solution to eliminate poverty.
The course is strategically designed to first provide everyone with the tools required to build a Social Enterprise. Indentifying Social Enterprise problems, developing market research, target market profiling, becoming culturally aware, preparing social marketing plans, feasibility analysis and business planning are all learned, tested and executed in the village of Bhimavaram. The team interacts one-on-one with villagers who earn anywhere from $1 to $2 per day and face enormous Social Enterprise problems.
Coming back to Hyderabad, armed with a strong foundation the students are assigned consulting projects. Consulting projects this year include development of a Social Enterprise livelihoods program for a night shelter, transitioning a non-profit into a self sustaining Social Enterprise that can run as a community based organization, and developing Social Enterprise revenue sources to support a slum school. All over a course of three days. While the work is challenging both emotionally and physically it is also very rewarding. This group of ten students will be connected for life by this experience.
The course is offered each Fall Term and is a priceless experience. You can read all about the students activities and adventures on http://psumagicbus.tumblr.com/.