Northeastern’s Pres­i­den­tial Global Scholars Pro­gram enabled busi­ness major Ben Kuhlmann to gain a life-​​changing expe­ri­ence pro­moting entre­pre­neur­ship through a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion in Cape Town, South Africa.

Now, the North­eastern senior is focused on cre­ating life-​​changing expe­ri­ences for others.

Kuhlmann is working for the entre­pre­neur­ship center at the Ter­tiary School in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion (TSiBA), men­toring and awarding micro-​​loans to small busi­ness owners who show promise despite their poor eco­nomic standing.

It’s an invalu­able expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity Kuhlmann would not have had without the $5,000 schol­ar­ship he received from the Pres­i­den­tial Global Scholars Pro­gram, which pro­vides up to 200 qual­i­fied stu­dents annu­ally with the finan­cial means to par­tic­i­pate in an inter­na­tional co-​​op experience.

I’m thankful for the oppor­tu­nity North­eastern pre­sented to me,” said Kuhlmann, who also com­pleted a co-​​op with Morgan Stanley, in Sydney, Aus­tralia. “It’s been a great expe­ri­ence and it’s opened up the doors for other co-​​op stu­dents to work at TSiBA.”

The Ter­tiary School is a small col­lege ded­i­cated to offering emerging young leaders from local com­mu­ni­ties an oppor­tu­nity to learn about entre­pre­neur­ship and small busi­ness management.

At the center, Kuhlmann recently awarded two entre­pre­neurs about $3,000 each to start-​​up their businesses—a paper supply com­pany and a swim­ming school.

He also man­ages the center’s equity fund, which includes making three-​​to-​​five-​​year invest­ments in the most promising start-​​ups. The center even­tu­ally buys out its increas­ingly large stake in each enter­prise in order to fund other ventures.

Northeastern’s Social Enter­prise Insti­tute pro­vides the invest­ment cap­ital for the equity fund. The insti­tute gives stu­dents the oppor­tu­nity to become glob­ally aware busi­ness leaders, by enabling them to help build micro-​​enterprises that cater to the poor in devel­oping countries.

The goal of the equity fund is to alle­viate poverty by sup­porting as many entre­pre­neurs as pos­sible. “If done prop­erly, it’s quite an effec­tive tool,” Kuhlmann said, noting that his growing pas­sion for social entre­pre­neur­ship has changed his career path.

It makes me happy to know that my work has a direct and pos­i­tive impact, and I don’t think I could go back to sit­ting in an office in front of the com­puter all day,” he said. “I want to work in the devel­op­ment field where I can see and feel the impact that I help to create.”