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SSU Students Engage in Entrepreneurial Pursuit

March 27, 2014 10:54 AM


SSU Students Engage in Entrepreneurial Pursuit

Rohnert Park, CA - Over spring break, students from BUS 495 took a trip to Eleuthera, Bahamas to make an impact through social entrepreneurship for others and create life-changing experiences for themselves. While there, the group worked closely with the "One Eleuthera Foundation" which seeks to spark an entrepreneurial spirit that will improve the industries in farming, tourism, craft making, and fishing -- a vision the students aimed to build on.

The students have been preparing for this trip since the beginning of the semester in their two-unit extended education BUS 495 class.  Throughout the semester they created business plans for Eleuthera's coffee industry and also created a micro lending proposal to help local businesses.

"Social entrepreneurship is the hope of the future," said Professor Robert Girling, the faculty advisor for the trip. "It creates new ways to solve social problems."

Social entrepreneurship elements include building community, providing products that are not profitable for other businesses to produce, and protecting the environment.

Patrick Maloney, a part of the student-run entrepreneur group Entreprenoma, was grateful for this opportunity to apply entrepreneurial thinking to solve social problems and to see how the power of an entrepreneurial mindset can span across cultural boundaries.

"The work that the One Eleuthera Foundation is doing provides an amazing opportunity for partnership between SSU and the Eleutheran people," said Maloney. "I am thankful to now have a better understanding of the cultural and economic realities of a developing nation." He hopes to further this development by considering ways Entreprenoma can work with this program.

"So much of business is global," said Girling. "The students can experience the concept of interconnectedness on a global scale. International travel opens your eyes to so many things that you don't notice in your daily environment."

In addition to the coffee business plan and the micro lending project, the students strategized what it would take to start organic community gardens all over Eleuthera, created a business plan for more efficient recycling on the island, and worked on creating a source of income for Eleutheran women through a sewing skill they already possessed. Also during the trip, students donated a new piano to the Eleuthera Arts and Cultural Center where the whole community could play and enjoy it.

Rather than relaxing during their week off for spring break, these students chose to spend seven days volunteering their time to make a difference. The trip was a rewarding experience for everyone involved and displayed the true meaning of doing something good in social entrepreneurship. 


About Sonoma State University's School of Business and Economics:
Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics' mission is to create extraordinary learning experiences for our students and to advance best business practices in the North Bay and beyond.  Its Wine Business Institute is recognized around the world for its expert faculty, business-focused research, and the first undergraduate and graduate degree programs in wine business in the United States.  Creating a vibrant community, developing a sustainable business model for entrepreneurship in higher education, and developing and delivering innovative programs are the goals for its campus-wide, community-reaching entrepreneurship initiative. With undergraduate, graduate and executive programs serving over 1600 students each year and degrees and concentrations in Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Wine Business, and Economics, the School offers the most in-demand programs on the Sonoma State campus.  The School of Business and Economics is accredited by AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), making it one of 15% of all business schools in the world to meet these standards for excellence.  For more information visit,
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