The Columbia Senior Executive Program (CSEP) is launching its first Positive Impact Project, in partnership with the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI), a New York-based nonprofit that pursues innovative solutions to humanitarian problems. Our plan is that each CSEP class will join forces with a local, national or international nonprofit organization with the goal of offering our participants a project of global significance to reinforce some of the key learnings in the leadership development part of the curriculum.
The fall’s 2008 CSEP class developed the business plan for HDI’s Mushrooms with a Mission (MwM) initiative, a Vietnam-based enterprise that will provide added income to survivors of unexploded ordnance (UXO). CSEP participants acted as consultants, working in teams organized by area of expertise. Each team reviewed a particular element of the MwM business plan, including financing, marketing, human resources and government relations. Groups then presented their recommendations to HDI executives.
Mushrooms with a Mission will train amputees and other victims of UXOs in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province, the most heavily bombed area in Vietnam, to grow mushrooms and collectively sell the entire stock to a mushroom processing facility, which will market, package and sell the mushrooms to local and regional markets in Asia. A portion of the proceeds will also fund ongoing UXO removal efforts.
“Partnering with domestic and international nonprofits allows our CSEP participants to apply their proven business skills in a hands-on fashion to develop various aspects of an international nonprofit, an area that lies outside of most of their comfort zones,” said Paul Ingram, Kravis Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and CSEP faculty director. “As a result, our students enhance dtheir global experience and knowledge base, and at the same time, the Humpty Dumpty Institute came away better equipped to meet its goals.”