Stories of Value
MBA, Class of 2009
State Department Economic Empowerment in Strategic Regions
President, Notre Dame Net Impact chapter
Entrepreneurship Instructor, Kingston, Jamaica,
Selected for the MBA Enterprise Corps,
War Zone Entrepreneurs
“If I would have said seven years ago . . . that MBA students in the US would be helping businessmen in Afghanistan and Iraq start new businesses, no one would have believed it.”
Second-year MBA student Eric Litton was one of sixteen Notre Dame MBA volunteers who pitched in to help Iraqi and Afghani entrepreneurs bring their goods to market through a targeted U.S. State Department initiative. He took on two proposals from Afghanistan, one focused on tomato processing, the second on creating a cotton ginning facility. “Both of the projects stressed the issue of relieving the dependence the local farmers had on illegal poppy production,” said Litton.
Fundamental to this initiative is the belief that people with jobs are less drawn to political extremism. “This project starts with finding local capitalists and tries to match them with partners and resources,” explained Steve Kaplitt, who directed the initiative for the State Department. “In most cases, the local entrepreneur knows his or her market and region, but they don’t know how to scale up with international partners or donors.” And this is where the MBAs come in. They take the raw proposal, identify and address problems, and create and fashion a business proposal that is marketable to Western audiences.
Litton is the President of the Net Impact chapter at Notre Dame, an MBA group dedicated to promoting social and environmentally responsible business.