ECSU students attend UNCs Social Business Conference
Dr. Shahid M. Shahidullah
October 16, 2012
A group of ECSU students, faculty, and administrators participated in the First Social Business Conference organized by the University of North Carolina General Administration. The conference was held at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, and it was organized particularly to educate the UNC students and faculty about the theme of the concept of "social business." In 2006, Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladesh banker and economist, received the Noble Peace Prize for developing and applying the concept we now know as social business. The theme of social business is that capitalism and poverty or business and poverty should not be antithetical. The plights of the billions of people in poverty, many of whom live on less than $2 dollars, can be radically changed with a new concept of social business – a concept that is based on the belief that business skills and honesty are not the monopoly of the rich and the educated. The changing of the lives of the world’s poor is a matter of developing a new paradigm of social business – a new perspective of capitalism. The concept of social business that was coined by Yunus in Bangladesh in the early 1970’s is now a global concept and a new world movement. In Greensboro, UNC’s students, faculty, administrators, and many of North Carolina’s small business groups, gathered to hear first-hand the idea of social business from its originator Muhammad Yunus. The UNC General Administration welcomed participation from representatives at all 17 campuses of the UNC system in the development of small business venture proposals centering the theme of social business. Proposals from each university were first presented by students in front of a panel of judges composed of the leaders of small businesses in North Carolina. Out of these presentations, a small number of high-quality proposals were then selected, on the same day, for further presentation at the general conference in front of Noble Laureate Muhammad Yunus. ECSU prepared two proposals for presentation. One proposal was entitled "From welfare to workforce: Micro financing for small business growth in Northeast North Carolina." It was developed by Dr. Debjani Kanjilal and Dr. Emily Y. Jin of the ECSU Walter R. Davis School of Business and Economics, and Dr. Shahid M. Shahidullah of the ECSU School of Arts and Humanities. The other proposal was titled "Wireless broad-band initiative for rural Northeastern North Carolina: Improving quality of life." It was developed by Dr. Anupam Nath of the ECSU Department of Business Administration. Nath said his presentation of "Wireless broad-band initiative for rural Northeastern North Carolina: Improving quality of life," has proven useful well beyond that conference held late in September. He is using the information in two courses that he is teaching this semester. Management Information Systems II and Business Networks are upper level courses for students in Business Administration majors. "In both of those courses we talk about Internet and different ways to provide internet service. One such technique is WiMAX that we mentioned in the proposal. The proposal’s idea essentially is relevant in those courses as it gives a practical example of where WiMAX could be an effective way to provide Internet," Nath said. Both proposals were closely examined and supervised by Dr. Ngozi Oriaku, Dr. Kingsley Nwala, and Dr. Kungpo Tao of the Walter R. Davis School of Business and Economics. Eleven ECSU students, divided into two panels, prepared themselves for six weeks to present the proposals at the UNC convention. ECSU’s proposal "From welfare to workforce" was selected as one of the nine final proposals that were presented in the larger convention meeting in front of Muhammad Yunus. ECSU’s students Chelsey Campbell and Dawnesha Faison of the Department of Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Social Work, and Jessica Young and Jonathan Rankin of the Walter R. Davis School of Business and Economics made magnificent presentations. Other ECSU students who presented were Cierra Swain, Valerie Edwards, Ryan Lee, Gregory Dillard, Tiffany Long, Deniece Herring and, Victoria Bollero. ECSU’s participating students applaud Dr. Anthony Brown, vice-chancellor for the ECSU Division of Student Affairs, Dr. Ali Khan, provost and vice-chancellor for the ECSU Division of Academic Affairs, and Chancellor Willie Gilchrist for their assistance with this trip. Dr. Brown has tirelessly worked for more than two months to put this panel together. He brought on board not just ECSU students and faculty, but also a number of small business leaders from the local community including Michael Twiddy, of the Small Business and Technology Development Center, and Rocky Lane, an ECSU economic development consultant.