Pepperdine University School of Law and the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law hosted a reception launching two business plans from the first group of the Palmer Center’s Microfinance Program Entrepreneurs on May 12. Six entrepreneurs also shared their stories at the event.
The entrepreneurs were selected from the residents of the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles, California. They participated in a 14-week training program, learning the basic principles of financial management, marketing, accounting, and business from Pepperdine faculty, students, and alumni. Students from the School of Law, Graziadio School of Business and Management, and Graduate School of Education and Psychology served as teaching fellows for the instructional component and as coaches for the semester-long duration of the program.
Four law students and six entrepreneurs spoke at the event. "Each spoke about how their involvement with the program has caused meaningful transformation in their lives," said Andrei Duta, Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Palmer Center. "The students expressed how this experience has been one of the most important aspects of their Pepperdine education, entrepreneurs shared their stories of hope and redemption, and guest speakers returned to nurture the dreams of those they care about deeply."
The Palmer Center Microfinance Program was established to provide microenterprise training and microloans to individuals in downtown Los Angeles. Dedicated in 2007 by Dr. Muhammad Yunus on Pepperdine’s Malibu campus, the program officially launched in Fall 2010, with ten individuals participating in the pilot group. Loans are funded by community members through Lending4Change.com, where borrower’s profiles and business plans are posted for review by potential lenders. Borrowers have 12 months within which to repay the loan.