Examples of University-based Programs

Atiku Center for Leadership Entrepreneurship & Development 

American University of Nigeria, Nigeria

The Atiku Center provides a wide range of humanitarian, livelihood, agriculture (sustainable agriculture), sustainability, business development projects to give sustainable livelihood to more vulnerable IDPs, returnees and host communities in insurgency affected local government areas of Adamawa, Yobe, Borno and Gombe states. Sampel programs include the North-East Small Business Seminar and Financial Support Intervention, the SME Power Up Project in the Northeast of Nigeria, the North-East Business Concept Competition, SDGs Start-Up Bootcamp, SME Project Abuja, and Financial Literacy for Financial Independence.

Social Entrepreneurship for Poverty Alleviation (SEPA)

Austin College, USA

The SEPA program is designed to increase Austin College student engagement in the local community, increase collaboration with local NPOs, and provide grant writing training and internships for the students and agencies. Participating students and local NPOs first participate in a two‐day grant‐writing workshop hosted by Austin College. Participating students are then assigned to work with a partnering NPO for the summer and help the agency source and apply for grants. The program provides local nonprofits with grant‐writing training, as well as staffing assistance with energetic and intelligent Austin College students facilitating collaboration to address important local social and economic issues, and finally, providing those Austin College students with outstanding learning opportunities.

Village Social Outreach and Microbusinesses

Bhagat Phool Singh Women’s University, India

The BPS Women's University, through the Village Social Outreach and Microbusinesses program, has adopted five nearby villages namely Kasanda, Kasandi, Gamri and Garhi Ujale Khan as a part of government policy for its social outreach programme. The social outreach programme of the university carried through its various departments is mainly focusing on creating and sustaining self-help groups (SHGs) with the help of NGOs and local people for employment generating activities. The MSM Institute of Ayurveda of the university regularly holds free health check-up camps, cleanliness drives, medical awareness camps and use of folk- medicines for the promotion of better health of the people in these villages.  Punjab National Bank (a premier Public Sectored Bank in India) and the social work department of the university are jointly imparting training under 'The Rural Employment Self Training scheme.' especially to the women in these villages. The training equips participants from these villages with basic talent to initiate micro businesses.  The training focuses on the use of local resources and to meet the local requirements besides protecting the natural environment. The joint efforts of the Punjab National Bank and the university are proving pivotal in incentivizing unemployed youth in initiating theory own microbusinesses to help them out from the cobweb of poverty and unemployment. The university has also established the Ericsson incubation center for promoting new starts-ups.

CNM Ingenuity USA

Central New Mexico Community College, USA

Poverty and economic development are major issues in New Mexico. CNM Ingenuity is a non-profit corporation created by Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) under the New Mexico Research Park Act. It supports a new approach to education that provides accelerated educational and training opportunities in key workforce areas, wrap-around support for aspiring entrepreneurs, and cooperative ventures that foster economic development and job creation in the region. Established in 2014, CNM provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the support they need to take their fledgling businesses to the next level. The mission of CNM Ingenuity Inc. is to promote the public welfare and prosperity of the people of New Mexico and foster economic development within both the private and public sectors of the New Mexico community. CNM Ingenuity Inc. accomplishes this purpose by forging links between New Mexico’s educational institutions, businesses, industries, and government.  Sample programs include Deep Dive Coding, IGNITE Community Accelerator, Culinary Experience, SPACE Solutions and ActivateNM.

Baton Rouge Community Entrepreneurship and Adversity Initiative

Louisiana State University, USA

The Baton Rouge Community Entrepreneurship and Adversity Initiative seeks to help members of the Baton Rouge community, and particularly those facing economic or other hardships, in starting and growing a business. It is a joint effort of the LSU Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute and the City of Baton Rouge. The initiative has two key components: a training program called the Tiger Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs and consulting projects for local disadvantaged entrepreneurs.

Center for Urban Entrepreneurship

Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE) is helping reshape the regional economy and build wealth within the urban community by being the central resource for urban entrepreneurial programs and research. Its Capacity Building Program is an intensive 6 month customized training program that is designed for entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least one year and have earned revenue. Both for profit and non-profit entities may participate in the program. The purpose of the program is to assist entrepreneurs with the development of a customized Capacity Building Development Plan (CDBP) that will ultimately lead to an increase in annual growth rate as well as provide positive stimulation to the urban entrepreneurial ecosystem. The program is entrepreneur-centric, meaning that while the program takes participants through a series of relevant training modules, delivery is conducted in a manner that speaks to the issues and realities of the specific businesses in each cohort. Each business undergoes an initial assessment of its current business structure, operations, and history, along with a step by step plan of how to move forward, with objectives and benchmarks against which to measure progress throughout the program and after its conclusion. 

Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development

Rutgers University, USA

The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) is the first center of its kind in the nation to integrate scholarly works with private capital, government, and non-profit sectors to develop citywide resources and bring renewed economic growth and vitality through urban entrepreneurship. We promote and foster a new generation of urban entrepreneurs who actively seek socially conscious urban renaissance. Our mission is to build a world-class research-driven, teaching and practitioner-oriented urban entrepreneurship and economic development program that will transform the economy of the City of Newark, New Jersey, and other urban centers; create wealth in urban communities; and be a model for all urban universities. Our vision is to be the world’s leading Center for innovative thinking and research on entrepreneurial activity in urban environments. As such, we work across constituencies to create new knowledge and tools that build thriving urban communities. CUEED provides various types of assistance to entrepreneurs in different industries. Sample programs include a) the Entrepreneurship Pioneer Initiative which is designed exclusively for first-generation entrepreneurs, and is a highly competitive nine-month program that can serve as a single source to support the growth of a business. The program offers a powerful blend of monthly classes, intensive training, one-on-one counseling, financial guidance, peer coaching and networking, and b) the Urban Retail Acceleration Program, an exclusive program designed specifically for Black and Latino entrepreneurs who currently operate a retail or restaurant business in New Jersey and are interested in opening a new retail store or restaurant.

Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins

Santa Clara University, USA

Beyond the numbers and statistics of refugees, migrants, and human slaves are the emotional, ethical, and societal costs. The drive toward personal security, to seek better lives for ourselves and our families, to exist harmoniously with others and with our environment—these are basic human needs that transcend borders and laws. Restoring dignity to the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized through entrepreneurship embodies the Jesuit mission of Santa Clara University and our location in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Miller Center at SCU is a pioneer in accelerating social enterprises, leveraging its twin strands of DNA: its location in the heart of Silicon Valley, the world’s most entrepreneurial ecosystem, and its Jesuit commitment to serve the poor and protect the planet. Miller Center’s team explored the question: How can we apply the principles of social entrepreneurship to help the most marginalized among our human family? This question led Miller Center to launch the Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins (SEM) accelerator with two primary goals: 1. Leverage Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) accelerator programs, which alumni praise for helping them achieve operational excellence and secure investments essential to scaling their impact, to similarly help ventures serving and/or led by migrants, refugees, and human trafficking survivors. 2. Accompany the leaders of these social enterprises to better discern what impact models, business models, and technology solutions are of the greatest benefit to those refugees, migrants, and human slaves suffering at the margins of society.

South Side Entrepreneurship Connect Program

Syracuse University, USA

The South Side Entrepreneurship Connect Program seeks to establish a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in the South Side and surrounding communities through the creation of sustainable ventures, infrastructure building, student and faculty engagement through consulting teams, a micro-credit loan fund, training programs for entrepreneurs, and opportunities for minority purchasing. The centerpiece of the program is the South Side Innovation Center (SSIC), a community based microenterprise incubator operated by the Whitman School at Syracuse. The SSIC provides office space and equipment to foster the creation of new ventures and help existing businesses grow. Located in a modern facility in Syracuse's South Side, the SSIC serves as a small-business resource center, hosting training programs, providing advice on individual business plans, and offering access to mentors and professional contacts. The SSIC is open to small-business entrepreneurs in need of a professional work environment who want help in growing their ventures. Entrepreneurs must also be committed to business development on the South Side and neighboring communities.

Helping Small Scale Entrepreneurs in Ecuador

Universidad del Azuay, Ecuador

The Universidad del Azuay has a project to foster small scale entrepreneurship in the city of Cuenca. It was launched in 2020. This is a project to work together with the City Hall of Cuenca to identify barriers in small scale entrepreneurship, then develop different courses to help them with skills and solutions to improve their business. In the methodology, they started with exploratory research involving focus groups with twelve entrepreneurs from different areas and types of ventures. This was followed up with a survey of 450 small scale entrepreneurs to recognize their needs and barriers that are facing. Six courses of 15 hours each were developed based on this data. These courses are presented by experts from the university and involve no cost for any of the entrepreneurship involved in this program. After these courses, graduate students in entrepreneurship work together with these small scale entrepreneurs giving them support and tracking the strategies applied in their business after they receive the courses. The goals are to help the entrepreneurs improve their businesses and become both sustainable and profitable. They seek to connect them with suppliers to receive solutions, increase their productivity and develop a marketing plan to be positioned in the market as great local products to use and receive benefits from the community. The budget as a university to do this program is $17000.00 and the timeline is one year. The program is part of a larger initiatives called "Linking with Society."

Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program

University of Florida USA

The Gainesville Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program (GEAP) is an integrated, multifaceted program to empower those living in adverse circumstances to create and grow their own businesses. They work with community members over a 12-month period. GEAP includes six components: six weeks of training, followed by one-on-one consulting, mentoring from successful business owners, connections to community resources, a microcredit program, and progress tracking. 

Poverty Solution

University of Michigan, USA

Poverty Solutions’ action-based research is focused on partnerships, pilots, and even large-scale programs that determine what is most effective at preventing and alleviating poverty and brings new discoveries to policymakers and community stakeholders. Poverty Solutions engages community organizations and individuals in seeking new solutions to prevent and alleviate poverty. We partner with centers at U-M deeply embedded in this work such as the Ginsberg CenterDetroit URC, and Center for Educational Outreach, and look for ways the university can contribute to solving poverty challenges at the community level. Since the initiative began in 2016, we have engaged faculty, students, community organizations and local policymakers in discussions about poverty. Our goal is to share knowledge with, and learn from, our larger community through community conversations. Learn more about our past convenings below.

South Bend Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program

University of Notre Dame, USA

The South Bend Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program (SBEAP) is a 12-month intervention program working with entrepreneurs in poverty circumstances. It includes six components: six weeks of training, followed by one-on-one consulting, mentoring from successful business owners, connections to community resources, a microcredit program, and progress tracking.  SBEAP is a collaborative effort between the University of Notre Dame, the City of South Bend, Project Impact, La Casa de Amistad, the West Side Small Business Resource Center, the North Central Indiana SBDC, Invanti Ventures the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative at St, Mary’s College, the Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, Ivy Tech, and the Neighborhood Resources Connection. Each year, a mix of educators, subject matter experts, successful entrepreneurs and others work with entrepreneurs at all stages of venture development.  A total of 65 low-income entrepreneurs participate in the SBEAP program each year. While the program fee is $500, almost all participants receive scholarships to help cover all but $25 of the cost. In addition to training and mentoring, examples of the assistance provided will include registering companies, creating websites, modifying the product/service mix, improving inventory policies, enhanced market segmentation and targeting, launch of social media sites, producing marketing materials, developing bookkeeping systems, re-formulating pricing approaches, and assistance in dealing with suppliers. 

Urban & Community Entrepreneurship Program

University of Pittsburgh, USA 

The Urban & Community Entrepreneurship Program (UCEP) helps entrepreneurs overcome the challenges of starting businesses in distressed and underserved neighborhoods and exurban “Main Street” business districts through four major resources: Educational Workshops, Community Power to Prosper Program, Consulting Services, and Collaborative Partnerships. UCEP is committed to advancing entrepreneurship in underserved and moderate income communities and to help advance business leaders of today and tomorrow prosper. The focus of the Urban and Community Entrepreneurship Program is to help foster economic empowerment by investing in one individual, one job and one business at a time.

Tshwane Enterprise Development Programme

University of Pretoria, South Africa

The SMME Capacity Building (Entrepreneurship) Project was launched in 2009 as an initiative by the City of Tshwane (COT), and the University of Pretoria (the service provider), with the goal to empower three different groups of historically disadvantaged citizens with the skills and knowledge that can contribute to their level of economic activity in the COT metropolitan area.  The empowerment process involved two main areas, i.e. (i) Contact based training and (ii) Mentoring. Three contact-based training interventions, i.e. Business Start-up, Basic and Advanced Entrepreneurship programmes,were presented. The delegates on the Business Start-up Program are assisted in starting a business, while delegates on Basic Entrepreneurship Program are assisted in running their micro businesses more effectively, and delegates on the Advanced Program are assisted in growing their established businesses. The mentorship program further supports these training interventions. Each delegate receives coaching through individual and/or small focus group mentoring sessions to assist in the application of the new knowledge towards the development of their respective enterprises.  The intervention was based on the following equation:

E/P = a P/S x b E/S x c B/S x T/S

E/P:  Entrepreneurial Performance
P/S:  Personal skills
E/S:  Entrepreneurship skills
B/S:  Business Management skills
T/S:  Technical skills

A total of 87% of delegates attended the mentorship program. After 24 months, 66% of the delegates indicate that they are still running their businesses, which is noteworthy especially given that these delegates had no resources and were very poor. We believe that entrepreneurship can eradicate poverty if the intervention is designed and implemented in this way.