Smith’s Center for Social Value Creation creates
opportunities for students to travel to emerging economies where they benefit
from projects that use their business skills to address
global challenges. In January 2008, through a partnership with Engineers Without Borders, two MBA students
joined a team from the Clark School of Engineering on a journey to Burkina Faso
with the dual objectives of installing solar-powered lighting systems in rural
villages, and evaluating the possibility of starting a business that used this
solar power to provide off-grid energy to rural villagers. The students
identified a target market, developed a pricing strategy and helped design a
delivery system that was competitive with the current kerosene-based system.
Said Jason Lee of the experience, "My time in Burkina Faso with Engineers
Without Borders will forever be remembered as the event that convinced me of
the power and potential of applying business principles within the development
context.” Engineers without Borders, a non-profit organization that works with
disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through
implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering
projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students.
This year, the Center for Social Value Creation is working in Ethiopia to
develop a micro-enterprise in Addis Alem.