Square One

Square One consists of group of CSB/SJU students that seeks to create lasting micro-business ventures in developing countries in Africa.  Each year, a team of students travels to Africa with the goal of empowering an impoverished community though sustainable business.  Square One is a student run organization that operates like a non-profit and is a spin off of a student organization called Enactus, which is a global network of students dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship.

Each sustainable business venture is designed to financially support an educational institution serving an underdeveloped community so that more children can go to school, using education as a way to break free from the cycle of poverty.

Over the past two years, two different groups of students have traveled to Kyetume, Uganda and built businesses for Hope Academy. The chicken coop and pigpen that we have built are maintained by residents and provide a sustainable means of income, enabling Hope Academy to pay the salaries of their teachers and develop their school's buildings. About 60% of the 160 students at Hope Academy are orphaned due to lethal diseases like HIV/AIDS and Malaria, and their only true opportunity comes in the form of education.

This year, Square One will be expanding its impact by moving into a new location in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to completing a final evaluation and retraining visit to Uganda, the team will spend two weeks in Kenya.  The purpose of this trip is to take the beginning steps to launch a sustainable business that will support the St. Benedict's Center in a Nairobi slum. We know that we can't accomplish everything in a few weeks, so we have taken a different approach to this expansion. This is a two-year effort, beginning with the research and documentation of the true "need" of the people we hope to serve, in order to start the beginning development of a micro business that is relevant for those living there, as well providing educational programs and resources for the local community about micro business, so that they may explore a sustainable business of their own.

Square One has developed a unique model to ensure our projects have a meaningful impact that is long term. This model includes three phases, 1) Discovery Phase and Pilot Testing 2) Implementation Phase 3) Reevaluation Phase. This year, we are in Phases 1 and 3. The Discovery Phase is crucial to the success of our expansion to a new location in Kenya. The Reevaluation Phase is essential to ensure the long-term sustainability of our businesses and to see the true impacts that our work has.

We invite supporters to consider sponsoring the education of a child for $125. This amount will cover all the school's required fees and eliminate a major barrier for many children trying to better themselves through education. Upon our return, a photo of the adopted children and follow up letter will be sent to each investor. Any donation is welcome. Checks may be made payable to "Saint John's University" with a memo of "Square One" and all donations are tax deductible (forms are automatically sent to you in the mail).