Social Entrepreneurship course takes students to Brazil to study NGO
St. Kate's students applied the research skills they acquired in a Social Entrepreneurship course when they traveled to Brazil to study a non-governmental organization (NGO) this year.
Focused on how to use business skills and apply them to social needs, the course and travel were funded by the 3M Foundation. Ten students presented their findings and business plan to 3M executives on Nov. 30, 2012.
The goal of the business plan was to increase sales of hand-made crafts, specifically dolls, to support the NGO’s mission: Redeem and develop self-esteem of vulnerable, young expecting mothers, to provide life skills needed to thrive in society.
“In taking a variety of majors and personality types, we truly learned how to effectively and succinctly work as a team,” said Daniela Castellon, a business-to-business sales major at St. Kate's. “With a dynamic group such as ours, people quickly learned when to augment their involvement to the task."
Castellon was among the students who presented their business plans to the 3M Foundation in November.
"My sales courses at St. Kate’s empowered me to not only deliver our message to an audience-filled room, but to do so in a compelling and effective way," she said. "This humbling opportunity will not soon be forgotten.”
Students conducted a competitive analysis to discover marketplace opportunities for artisans and target market demographics, in order to recommend an approach for sales in the U.S. to the NGO.
They used Six Sigma tools for market analysis and voice of customer. By conducting a focus group, students determined a price range for the doll that the target market was willing to spend and that would allow profitability.
According to Molly Quigley, an accounting and marketing management major, “I enjoyed the chance to apply my knowledge from prior courses into a real-life business situation. For example, I had the opportunity to utilize critical accounting and marketing skills to develop financial statements and projections for our business plan, including analyzing sales volume and determining costs of doing business.
"Overall, it was a wonderful experience that I will take with me in the rest of my academic career as well as my professional endeavors."
Social Entrepreneurship course students who presented their business plan to 3M executives included: Kelly Blasey, Sara Brant, Brie Brose, Ashley Burzynski, Daniela Castellon, Jennifer Funkhouse, Mari Gronquist, Kelly Kalli, Molly Quigley, Dominque Staupe. Pictured with the students are Lynn Schleeter and Faye Larson, professors.