The Microventuring Certificate Program is a signature program of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship. With its focus on wealth creation among the disenfranchised members of global societies, microventuring holds the key to dramatic change in the lives of individuals, communities and entire economies. Our students come together from business and non-business disciplines to study microfinance, microenterprise development and social enterprise theory in order to bring about social good through business.
The Gigot program links micro-entrepreneurs to enabling organizations and community resources, including lending and other commercial activities. Our students act as mentors to the micro-entrepreneur, assisting with issues of sustainability and business growth.
The Microventure Certificate Program is a two-semester undergraduate offering that first teaches the theory and then provides hands-on learning:
- First semester: Non-business students focus on entrepreneurial skills development in the core areas of accounting, marketing and operations. Business students focus on social entrepreneurial theory, including microenterprise development and microfinance as a strategy for development, and engage in the assessment and analysis of social models through the case study method.
- Second semester: Students act as consultants to local low-income entrepreneurs and businesses, analyzing the business model and performing market and competitive research, then working through solutions to improve overall business profitability. The traditional classroom transitions into a live case study, where real-life problems need to be solved for the microentrepreneur to realize better success in a given market. All businesses are locally owned and business owners reflect diverse cultural and economic backgrounds with the common goal of achieving more profitability in their business. Student teams have worked with café and restaurant concepts, religious and handicraft gift stores, repair and commercial cleaning businesses, florists and a myriad of other industries.
Students who successfully complete the first and second semesters are eligible to participate in a domestic or international internship opportunity focused on community economic development initiatives with partner non-governmental organizations. Past interns worked with partner NGOs in Uganda, South Africa, Cambodia, Guatemala and Ecuador.