Springfield, OH (PressExposure) February 01, 2011 -- Village Markets of Africa (VMA) is the Fair Trade mission of the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church. This movement is about giving concerned consumers alternative ways to shop. It connects producers directly to consumers and bypasses exploitative middlemen who abuse producers for cheap labor in sweatshop models. By eliminating these middlemen, consumers can actually receive a better price while also ensuring that the producers are being paid a fair price for their work.
VMA recently partnered with Lutheran affiliate, Wittenberg University, in Springfield, OH. VMA's business model is now a hands-on case study for Wittenberg's entrepreneurial department curriculum. This is a truly dynamic partnership, teaching business students the social ethics of Fair Trade and giving them real world work experience so they are prepared to make a positive change when they graduate and enter the workforce.
Many universities have started to get involved in the movement, but Wittenberg University is the first to incorporate a complete Fair Trade business model so dynamically into their curriculum:
---Entrepreneurial students manage VMA's 3000sq ft warehouse operation ON CAMPUS including all logistics of inventory management and order fulfillment for over 300 different products.
---Students develop new Fair Trade products through VMA artisan cooperatives in Kenya, so they facilitate the manufacturing in Kenya and marketing in the US of those new products.
---Students have travel opportunities to Kenya and paid employment opportunities at Village Markets of Africa.
---After participating in the program, entrepreneurial students are encouraged to start their own ventures with access to startup capital from the university. These grants and consulting are all part of the program, allowing students to maintain all equity rights to their ideas
Wittenberg certainly deserves special recognition for their contributions to the Fair Trade movement and entrepreneurial education, encouraging other universities to develop similar academic programs.
Together, Wittenberg University and Village Markets of Africa are not only promoting the Fair Trade movement, but also investing in the education of future business leaders here in the United States, that they might incorporate social ethics into their own business models to be a positive change in our world.
This is an exciting partnership that has set a new benchmark for Fair Trade and Entrepreneurial Studies!
Here's a few links that describe the program if you are able to help spread the word about these exciting developments in the Fair Trade movement:
On the Village Markets of Africa website: [http://villagemarketsofafrica.com/index.php/Alliance-with-Wittenberg-University/Alliance-with-Wittenberg-University.html]
On the Wittenberg University Website: http://www5.wittenberg.edu/academics/entrepreneurs/whatcanido.html
VMA facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/VILLAGE-MARKETS-OF-AFRICA/181391728191