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Nicaraguan Impact-Investment Fund: the capstone class is returning to Nicaragua

by Caitlin Ferguson, Andonis Marden and Ellie Deshaies

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 sei@neu.edu to find out more about how you can con­tribute to the Nicaraguan impact-investment fund or visit Cat­a­lyst for more information.