Center forms strategic partnership with award-winning entrepreneurOct 14, 2010
Miami University’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship, located in the Farmer School of Business,
will play a crucial role in improving the lives and livelihoods of
rural villagers in developing nations, thanks to a new strategic
partnership announced in late September at the Clinton Global Initiative
in New York.
Miami alumnus Greg Van Kirk, co-founder and executive director of CE Solutions, will collaborate with the center to develop MicroConsignment, an initiative that enables small entrepreneurs in the developing world to sell affordable products and services to the rural poor that transform their lives. Such products include clean cookstoves, eyeglasses, seeds, solar-powered lights and water purification buckets.
The Center for Social Entrepreneurship will oversee international knowledge creation and serve as a dissemination hub, supporting activities such as outreach, country analysis and solution identification.
“A partnership at this level speaks volumes about the global reputation and outstanding capabilities of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and about its leadership,” said Farmer School Dean Roger L. Jenkins.
Entrepreneurs involved in MicroConsignment earn an income while providing rural villagers access to essential products and services. To date, 250 micro-entrepreneurs have set up over 2,400 village campaigns and sold over 58,000 products. Van Kirk provides an early stage distribution channel and MicroConsignment creates access where previously there was none.
“There is exciting potential for expansion of the MicroConsignment initiative to involve major multi-national corporations,” said Brett Smith, director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “We are thrilled to work with such a passionate and world renowned social entrepreneur. Greg has brought on-the-ground expertise to our program and we are looking forward to partnering with him to scale one of the most innovative models in the developing world.”
“We have already had a tremendous experience working with Brett, his team, and entrepreneurship students at Miami,” said Van Kirk. “We applaud their efforts and view this new strategic partnership as essential to creating an exponential impact for vulnerable populations in the developing world. There is so much mutual benefit that can result from intelligent collaborations between universities and practitioners. We hope that this partnership will be an example for others to follow. Onward and upward!”
Van Kirk was recently featured on CNN’s "Conscious Capitalism" show and has been recognized for his innovative MicroConsignment Model (MCM). He is a recipient of the prestigious Ashoka Globalizer Award, which will assist him in expanding the model to new countries and continents.
CE Solutions is already active in Guatemala, Ecuador and Nicaragua and will replicate the MCM globally through the Ashoka Globalizer initiative. The Center for Social Entrepreneurship will serve as an essential platform for MCM’s growth.