Raised beds are something you can create on any surface with compost and wooden frames, says Quijano. “It is also more accessible for people with disabilities, since you can adjust the height of the beds,” she explains.

The root of the affordable housing problem in Colombia goes beyond the need for decent housing, which the government is supporting and subsidizing. The problem encompasses the need for a stable income for families, so they can afford to live even in subsidized housing. This model provides residents with the tools needed to grow crops as food to eat and to sell. “It won’t cover all the costs, but it will help them with additional income.”

Guatemalan families

Students who participate in the 2015 study abroad program will live with Guatemalan families and consult with women whose entrepreneurial efforts are a vital source of income. (Photo provided)

After discussing her idea with Mosakowski, Quijano plans to work with government agencies, nongovernment organizations and builders, so the project can go large-scale, providing raised-bed systems for an entire housing complex. Although Quijano’s idea is based on solving a community problem, Mosakowski’s class provided valuable insight into social entrepreneurship.

“We have seen different models of social entrepreneurship and how to implement these models around the world,” Quijano says. “Although many students in her program were interested in creating a business to make money, Elaine said, ‘Now all of you are going to socialize your idea. Try to find ways to give back to the community.’”

Entrepreneurship training for veterans

Closer to home, Purdue’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) helps solve the problem of employment for veterans by training them to become entrepreneurs. Last year around 200 Krannert undergraduate and graduate students, including many of Mosakowski’s, volunteered with the EBV program.

Although the program focuses on providing entrepreneurial training to veterans with disabilities, student volunteers gain from the program as well. “We have a lot of repeat volunteers because they enjoy the experience so much,” says Melissa Evens, former director of military and veterans affairs.

The domestic students who volunteer are “hard-core” about their participation, says Evens. “The international students may be touched by it even more. It’s a way for them to learn and understand the American culture. I think there is also an inherent respect for the veterans and the sacrifices they have made.”

The students in Mosakowski’s MBA entrepreneurship class often continue to work with the veterans on their business plans after the intensive EBV training at Purdue.

“The students gain the sense of confidence and learn the strategic perspective that veterans seem to innately possess,” Evens says. “It’s two subcultures — business students and veterans — coming together and learning from each other.”

Guatemala study abroad

Expanding on the experiential learning piece, Mosakowski is planning to teach a social entrepreneurship course in Guatemala. “We’re hoping to get the first group of students to go either spring break or summer 2015,” she says.

“They will live with a Guatemalan family. They act as business consultants while they are there. They solicit needs from women who are entrepreneurs in Guatemala and help them problem-solve. And they work as a team with these women, side by side.”

Whether it is in the classroom, in another country or with U.S. veterans, Krannert students are learning the concept of social entrepreneurship from Mosakowski, and as a result are finding solutions to some of our toughest social problems.

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