A signature program of SEI is the senior capstone course, Advanced Studies in Social Entrepreneurship. This course helps students understand the role that agricultural cooperatives and enterprises play in alleviating extreme poverty among rural smallholder farmers. To achieve this objective, students travel to Nicaragua to apply their classroom learning and engage in impact investing of high-performing social enterprises.
Last year, students in this course invested $10,000 in Manna Project International and SOPPEXCCA. Manna Project International received $5,000, which it has used to develop a successful jewelry-making cooperative that employs more than twenty mothers who previously had no dependable source of income. SOPPEXCCA, a union of coffee cooperatives who received the other $5,000, has used the funding to build sustainable agro-processing businesses that generate alternative sources of income during the off-season.
In March 2013, the capstone class will return to Nicaragua for one week. Students will identify two or more high-performing organizations that will receive financial support from SEI. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how you can contribute to the Nicaraguan impact-investment fund or visit Catalyst for more information.