To The Rescue Your education is good for more than just your own success. Learn how you can help others, too.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Your entrepreneurial education, with its teachings on marketing, business planning and financing, can do more than just help you start your own business: You can use your training to help other business owners in need.
Follow the lead of the MBA students at DePaul University: 16 students traveled to New Orleans last year to help local businesses recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Rather than hand out supplies or build houses, these students decided to use their entrepreneurial training to help rebuild the city's business community. "With [our] various business backgrounds, I knew we could create a different kind of [program], where our contribution wasn't just labor," says Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, 26, founder of the DePaul Business Corps and the program's organizer and manager. "Instead, we viewed ourselves as a pro bono consulting group working on quarter-long client projects with New Orleans nonprofits and businesses--culminating in an eight-day trip for face-to-face work."
The 16 students broke up into four groups, each working with a particular nonprofit or small business. One group raised $25,000 in funding to help a woman entrepreneur open a vocational training school; another helped a fair trade art boutique owner build a new website and develop a new marketing strategy; a third group helped the owner of a bar and restaurant develop a new logo and brand identity. Anastasia Kwit and Luke Weingarten, who worked as assistant organizers for the DePaul Business Corps, were members of the fourth group, which developed a business plan to help The Rebuild Center, a nonprofit that provides homeless outreach, operate more efficiently. "The center really needed some business guidance," says Kwit. "I was happy to apply things I'd learned and give that knowledge to other people who weren't fluent in business skills."