Small Enterprise Education and Development (SEED) is a program ran by Jon M. Huntsman School of Business student interns who teach the entrepreneurs the basics of running a business, help them create a business plan and work with those who qualify for a loan.
The SEED program empowers and provides opportunities to the less fortunate, allowing them to become self-reliant and improve their standard of living in a sustainable way.
In South America loans range from $3,000- $15,000. In Africa, they range from a few hundred dollars to $3,500. More than 35 business have been launched with the help of Huntsman students. Some of them have already paid back their loans.
Do you give somebody money because you want to help them lift themselves out of poverty? Well, you weigh that against the merits of a business plan, and you’re faced with some pretty tough ethical choices, because the humanitarian in all of us would want to just give the money.
That’s not what we’re asking the students to do. We’re asking them to make sound and solid business judgments based against that humanitarian backdrop. Last year, for example, I watched one particular group struggle to the point that a couple of the women were actually in tears several times because they couldn’t make the numbers work, but they wanted so desperately to give the family money. If that doesn’t build ethical leadership, I don’t know what does.
Experience Related by Tim Barney