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Dollar Enterprise Wins Best Practices Award

Posted: March 4, 2014

Dollar Enterprise program at the University of Vermont won the Best Practices Award at the 2014 Small Business Institute (SBI) Conference, Feb 13-15 in Las Vages, Nevada. The SBI Best Practices Award recognizes New entrepreneurial curriculum; New or innovative classroom delivery; Innovations in attracting and maintaining clients; Promoting entrepreneurship across the curriculum; Superior outcomes from existing programs, etc..

Dollar Enterprise was established in 2005 by Dr. Kathleen Liang, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Applied Economics in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. As a part of the course, CDAE 166 Introduction to Community Entrepreneurship Liang teaches, Dollar Enterprise is one of the largest Service-Learning and Experiential-Learning courses at UVM, and has won numerous awards. Liang teaches this course twice a year to 120-140 students in each semester, and offers $1 seed money to each student. Students work in teams (10-11 in each team) and use $10-$11 to design, plan, and operate small ventures on campus. It introduces innovative and unconventional pedagogy through experiential learning exercises that motivate learners to directly apply community entrepreneurship theories to plan and operate small ventures on campus. Dollar Enterprise focuses on creating the maximum impacts on generating value added and learning by using $1 seed money per person and a combination of recycle, reuse, renew, and up-cycle concepts. It allows young entrepreneurs-want-to-be each semester to gain the knowledge, skills, and practical experience simultaneously about entrepreneurial transformation, new venture creation, and community engagement. Since 2005, over 2000 UVM students have participated in Dollar Enterprise activities that generated over $40,000 for more than 300 charity organizations. More than 25 organizations have donated ingredients/materials to support student teams in the past 8 years. The course and the instructor have received university and national awards. CDAE 166 has become one of the most popular and highly recommended courses on campus for all advisors across disciplines. The course materials and Dollar Enterprise book have been widely shared with K-12 schools and other colleges/universities nationally and internationally. Liang has presented and published more than 15 articles to share the impacts and innovative nature of the course. UVM students and faculty members overwhelmingly identify Dollar Enterprise to be an exemplification of learning experience and a legacy. UVM Admission’s office also designates Dollar Enterprise to be a must-see stop for all campus visitors and guided tours to demonstrate the impacts of innovative curriculum. Most importantly, students learn the first hand about the complexity of entrepreneurship, whether it is a successful venture or a failure through daily practices of various knowledge and skills in a safe, guided environment.