Bohemian Foundation Awards $400,000 to Colorado State’s Business College for Sustainable Enterprise Degree

The Bohemian Foundation will award the College of Business at Colorado State University $400,000 in grants to enhance the college’s new master’s program in sustainable enterprise.

The 18-month Master of Science in Business Administration degree in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise, or GSSE, teaches students to use entrepreneurial, sustainable approaches to address the great global challenges of poverty, environmental degradation and poor health. The program ultimately could help some of the world’s three billion people who live on less than $3 a day with creating their own sustainable solutions and businesses.

The first students enrolled this fall.

"We’re excited about the master’s degree program coming to fruition and are happy to help it in its formative years," said Joe Zimlich, board member of the Bohemian Foundation.

Funds for the GSSE program may be used for scholarships, speaker fees, summer program expenses or other program-related expenses. The foundation will award $100,000 to the program every year for four years beginning October 2007.

The Bohemian Foundation is a private family foundation that focuses on promoting community awareness and involvement, involving people and organizations in working together to make the community a better place to live, and encouraging and enabling area youth to access the resources that will help them grow and thrive as productive members of the community. Bohemian’s primary focus has been the Fort Collins area; the foundation doesn’t typically fund programs that have global reach. However, like Envirofit – the most recently funded project of this nature – the GSSE program is an example of supporting "fellow citizens being involved in the care and improvement of our world," Zimlich added.

Bohemian Foundation helped launch Envirofit, a start-up in CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory that addresses the need for well-engineered technology products that can improve the human condition in the developing world.

"We are grateful to the Bohemian Foundation for building upon the fabric of service learning at Colorado State," said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Business. "With this gift, we can empower students to use business as a positive force for change."

GSSE students take traditional master’s level courses in marketing, finance, leadership and entrepreneurship, but all courses have been designed with deeper coverage of cross-cultural issues, non-profit perspectives and environmental and social policy implications. The degree requires summer field work – likely in the developing world – in partnership with international companies, nongovernmental organizations and microfinance organizations.

Carl Hammerdorfer, director of the GSSE Program and former country director for the Peace Corps, said, "GSSE graduates will look at profit more broadly than traditional business graduates. The products and services that they bring to markets in less-developed countries will ideally produce an attractive triple bottom line, with financial, social and environmental returns. Their goal will be to do well while doing good."

The focus of the GSSE degree is to solve global challenges in energy, agriculture, health, environmental management and economic development. Ideal candidates for the program are people who are working at corporations or non-profits who believe they could be more effective with additional business training in this area or students with some Peace Corps or military experience.