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3M SDSUEight SDSU undergrads trekked to St. Paul, Minnesota during the first week of December 2013 to offer their proposal for sustainable business model that could be implemented to improve the lives of an impoverished region of Uganda. 

The team from SDSU was one of seven from universities throughout the U.S. chosen to present their proposal to 3M Company executives at the 3M headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The students were part of the Sales for Social Impact class (Mktg. 498) which made its debut this fall semester thanks to a grant provided by the 3M. Each of the 15 students that made up the full 3M team had to apply and be accepted into the class, in that it fell under the classification of a "work study" program.
"It offered the students an eye-opening opportunity to create economic opportunities in an underserved community." -  Dr. Paula Peter

"The students were tasked with developing a marketing/distribution/sales plan that provided a means for budding entrepreneurs at 'bottom of the pyramid communities' to operate a sustainable business," said SDSU marketing professor and program coordinator, Dr. Paula Peter. "The plan had to be built around a product or service that supported the health and well-being of the community that was not widely accessible at the present time."

The students worked with Zambikes, a non-profit organization that manufactures and distributes cargo-carrying bikes in Zambia and Uganda, to propose a for-profit business transportation franchises, called U-Go, for entrepreneurs in the Agago District of Uganda. The franchisees would be offered the opportunity to finance and purchase specially built bicycles that could be used to transport water and other goods into the community and transport sick or injured citizens to the nearest medical facility for a nominal fee.

SDSU marketing faculty membersPeter, along with marketing professor, Dr. Heather Honea and marketing lecturer and former 3M executive, Dan McGinley, taught the class and provided the needed guidance to help the students launch and complete the project.

"Our first outing with the Sales for Social Impact resulted in a resounding success from as a student experience," said Peter. "It offered the students an eye-opening opportunity to create economic opportunities in an underserved community. It also allowed them to research and understand the social and economic limitations of the region and challenged them to propose a sustainable business solution based on those limitations. Finally, they got the chance to hone their public speaking skills, team building abilities and creativity which will serve them well as they evolved into our future business leaders."