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Last modified: Thursday, May 30, 2013

State Department sponsoring social entrepreneurship program at IU Kelley School

Twenty students from across Europe will learn through projects for Stone Belt, work with Habitat for Humanity

May 30, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- To foster greater understanding of social entrepreneurship within the context of American culture, Indiana University's Kelley School of Business is hosting a program for 20 students from across Europe, sponsored by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Kelley School of Business

IU Kelley School of Business

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The college-age students will arrive at IU Bloomington on July 1 from more than a dozen countries across Europe, including Greece, Spain and Portugal.

The project, called the Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute, will focus on how the students can use business knowledge to alleviate poverty, foster economic development and build global communities.

"Summer Institutes for European Student Leaders offer a unique experience to young student leaders to immerse themselves in American life while learning about a globally relevant subject from an American perspective," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs Meghann Curtis.

"At IU, these diverse student leaders from 13 countries will study the growing field of social entrepreneurship and learn about how they can achieve social change as entrepreneurs in their home countries," Curtis added. "At the same time, these students and the Americans they encounter will have a distinctive opportunity to learn from one another and gain a genuine understanding of their respective national cultures."

"These students, who are coming from a variety of racial, ethnic, geographic and economic backgrounds, will study social entrepreneurship as it is practiced in the United States and around the world," said Patricia P. McDougall-Covin, director of the Kelley School's Institute for International Business.

Patricia P. McDougall

Patricia P. McDougall-Covin

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"They will learn first-hand about business management and social entrepreneurship through visits to and social impact activities with nonprofit organizations, business incubators and companies that value contributing to positive social change," added McDougall-Covin, also the William L. Haeberle Professor of Entrepreneurship and a professor of strategic management.

Topics covered will include fundamentals such as strategy and business planning, financial management, operations, accounting and marketing, as well as microfinance, venture development, human resource management and ethics. Students also will learn how all of these functions are brought together through the management consulting process.

Curriculum directors are P. Roberto Garcia, clinical professor of international business and a former director of the Supply Chain and Global Management Academy in Kelley, and Alvin Lyons, a lecturer of public and nonprofit management in IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a consulting supervisor for more than 250 fund development programs of nonprofit organizations nationwide.

"Social entrepreneurship is a relevant topic for students in any country today," Garcia said. "This will prepare them to be global citizens and global business people in a more complete way."

"This is a great opportunity for faculty from two nationally ranked schools at IU to work together for what is literally a global good," Lyons said. "It's exciting to partner the business expertise from Kelley with the nonprofit experience of SPEA and see what new perspectives might be discovered by both schools, as well as by the students."

The culmination of their month of studies will be a project for Stone Belt, a Bloomington-based nonprofit agency that supports those with developmental disabilities so they can fully participate in the community. Teams of students will compete in a business plan contest featuring their ideas for Stone Belt.

Stone Belt CEO Leslie Green said she hopes the students will provide her organization with a fresh view of best practices around the country and offer suggestions for meeting increased needs for family-support services.

"They can take a broader view and do some research for us that is difficult for us to do while offering our day-to-day programs," Green said. "They'll be able to put a new set of eyes on these issues. They're younger people themselves, so they're going to think in new ways, including thinking about new technologies."

The students also will volunteer at Stone Belt and at a local build of Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County and at its ReStore facility. They also will meet with executives at Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Village Experience and the corporate social responsibility unit of Cummins Engine Co.

Students also will be tasked with producing a project that they'll be able to implement upon their return to their home country.

The Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute is another example of how fostering social change is viewed as integral at Kelley. For more than 20 years, the school has offered programs and courses that encourage students to think broadly about the impact of their work on the world. It established the Kelley Institute for Social Impact in 2010.

"The program's goal is for the students to return to Europe prepared to employ entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to address social issues in their home countries and encourage innovation in their communities and generate jobs," said LaVonn Schlegel, managing director of Institute for International Business. "Beneficiaries of the program will not only be the students, but potentially also those living in economically depressed areas of Europe."

After completing their studies in Indiana, the students will travel to Washington, D.C., for meetings with officials at the State Department and non-governmental organizations before returning home.