The Gigot Center’s social entrepreneurship program is action-oriented, utilizing experiential pedagogies to help at-risk, disenfranchised and/or poor populations to become more economically viable. It focuses on a “hand-up” rather than a “hand-out” approach by assisting these populations in the examination of their own assets, gifts, and talents and searching for creative, innovative and entrepreneurial ways to sustain a new or growing business. Aspects of this programming are taking place in the local community through a partnership with Robinson Community Learning Center as well as local nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurs.
Since 2002 the Robinson Community Learning Center and the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at the Mendoza College of Business have been partnering to deliver entrepreneurship curriculum to youth ages 14 – 21 in the South Bend community. This partnership yields a Summer Biz Camp and an Entrepreneurship class, delivered during the academic year, which culminates in the annual Invention Convention. Students can then move on to Robinson Enterprises, an applied entrepreneurship opportunity, for those who wish to continue working on their businesses, applying the skills learned in the youth entrepreneurship program. In addition, Notre Dame undergraduate student mentors are matched to work one-on-one with the youth entrepreneurs as they progress through the various stages of business literacy and planning for their enterprise.
Micro Business Consulting
Students work with local microenterprises on focused and strategic activities with the goal of enterprise sustainability and potential growth. Students use their business skills in service to others and entrepreneurs benefit from fresh perspectives as the students holistically approach the business.