Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winner! College Students’ Microloans for Abused Women

This post I wrote was published on yesterday. Sharing here:

Dr. Muhammad Yunus visited the Georgia Institute of Technology last October to speak to the more than 1,200 students who participated in the Georgia Social Business and Microcredit Forum. The Forum was organized by the University System of Georgia in collaboration with Georgia State agencies. Dr. Yunus spoke to the students, telling them that the future of society depended on youth. “This is your age, this is your time,” he said. “You are the most powerful generation in the entire history of mankind.”

Dr. Yunus is the pioneer of microcredit, where very small loans are granted to those in poverty in order to help them start businesses. The Forum included a business plan competition based on another Dr. Yunus concept — social businesses. A social business addresses a social problem, and makes a minimum profit sufficient to sustain the business, but insufficient to generate profit for individuals involved. The students were challenged to create social businesses that addresses local and state issues. The students were asked to identify a social problem in their community, conduct a market analysis and develop a business to address the problem.

“One of my goals as chancellor is to reinforce the value of college to society and individuals,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “This competition was an excellent way to showcase the critical thinking and creative talents of students and how they can take their skills and knowledge and apply to real problems here in Georgia.”

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Update to the post: I emailed the post to Professor Ariail, who coached the winning team. He replied to my email and said that the team is preparing to launch their venture!

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