Published: Sept. 19, 2014
CESR students spending time building social enterprises in Panama.

Click here for an exclusive video sneak peek!

In May 2015, CESR students will partner with entrepreneurs in Panama to build social enterprises that address poverty, the environment and social challenges. CESR offers its first international course, Global Seminar: Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation, in partnership with the CU Office of International Education - Study Abroad Programs, and will send students to Panama for a three week version of CESR’s popular course, Business Solutions for the Developing World (CESR 4005).

The Business Solutions for the Developing World course has been offered for the last few years as an elective for students pursuing the Socially Responsible Enterprise (SRE) Certificate offered by CESR. CESR 4005 is designed for students interested in business opportunities that meet the social and environmental challenges in developing countries. The primary objective is to provide students with practical knowledge and experience in developing innovative, sustainable business strategies to meet the needs of the poor and to encourage students to think critically about how business can make an impact on social and environmental issues.

During the semester, this course is conducted in partnership with social entrepreneurs across the world and teams of students in Boulder who use business tools to solve specific challenges and opportunities facing the social entrepreneurs.

CESR4005 has been very well received and highly rated by students who particularly like the service learning aspect of the class.  In a perfect world, CESR would be able to send each student to work directly with their project partners. But beginning in May 2015, CESR and the CU Office of International Education - Study Abroad Programs will offer a three week version of the class in Panama.

CESR’s Catherine Milburn will direct the program. She was born in Panama and has traveled and volunteered extensively throughout Central America. Milburn will choose program participants, lead a pre-program orientation, teach the course, and act as resident director in Panama.

The course will be conducted in partnership with a host community in Panama and local entrepreneurs from that community.  Students will become immersed in the culture through home stays which will expedite their understanding of community culture, needs and opportunities. Small teams will be matched with community entrepreneurs to analyze and identify opportunities and to create innovative business ideas.  Students will learn about the challenges of building and supporting social enterprises.  At the end of the trip, each team will deliver a report and recommendations that are tailored to meet the needs and goals of its entrepreneur. Individually, each student will complete a portfolio that will document their trip experience.

Panama is considered the fourth strongest economy in Latin America and one of the top 20 fastest growing economies in the world. However, strong economic performance has not translated into broadly shared prosperity, as Panama has the second worst income distribution in Central America after Haiti. Consequently, Panama will provide the class with ample opportunity to learn about the potential for business solutions to address poverty and related social and environmental challenges.

CESR is very excited to be able to offer this class and by next summer will be able to share student experiences with you.  

For more information

Contact the CESR office with any questions you have.