• ‘Sales for Social Impact’ class teaches students how to use business to benefit impoverished communities

    Working on a well in NicaraguaMany Baylor graduates can point to one particular class that shaped their future careers. For May 2012 graduate Austin Barnes, BBA ’12, it was a unique offering he took a year ago in the Hankamer School of Business called “Sales for Social Impact.”

    Funded by a generous grant from 3M and taught by faculty in Baylor’s Center for Professional Selling,”Sales for Social Impact” (SSI) teaches students about the intersection of business, marketing and poverty. Throughout the semester, SSI students demonstrate their understanding by creating a business model to bring social and economic benefit to an impoverished region.

    Partnering with a couple of former 3M research scientists who developed a solar water pasteurizer, Barnes’ SSI class last fall — a group of just 12 students — crafted a feasible business plan to provide Nicaraguans with clean water in a sustainable way. Course participants traveled to Nicaragua for five days to conduct primary research (that’s a well they worked on there pictured at right) and presented their business plan to 3M executives in St. Paul, Minn.

    “Sales for Social Impact (SSI) prepared me for the job market by making me a more well-rounded candidate,” said Barnes. “Through SSI, I was able to delve deeply into market research and develop a business model from the ground up, which made me an extremely attractive job candidate.”

    That work paid off, as Barnes was hired just days after graduating last month; he is now the chief technology officer for Vendevor, a start-up company developing e-commerce software for underdeveloped countries. Vendevor’s ultimate goal is to help entrepreneurs in developing countries support and expand their businesses internationally.

    Sic ’em, Austin, Vendevor and SSI!

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