We’re fired up about the people behind Vermont’s small businesses. And when John Beatty, an MBA candidate at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management asked Community Capital for help defining the evolution of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Community Capital weighed in from its perspective as one of 1,100 CDFIs in the country. In the context of borrower demographics and how Community Capital helps underserved entrepreneurs in Vermont, Community Capital’s David Parker focused on how technology and innovation can address economic opportunity and income inequality.
Beatty’s ultimate goal was to collect data for a nationwide MBA-student competition among hundreds of universities, called the Community Finance Challenge. Their charge: “From Detroit to the Mississippi delta, from Rapid City to rural Tennessee, we're challenging MBAs and other graduate students to design new organizations capable of using finance to promote local economic growth, address income inequality, and catalyze a more prosperous future for our cities and towns.” Organizers registered 60 teams from across the United States, and teams submitted proposals within the short window of three weeks.
This spring, finalists from Loyola, Cornell, Harvard, Texas Christian, Arizona State, Columbia, MIT, Ross and Northwestern presented their best ideas on how to evolve the administration and financing of community development loans. David Parker attended the challenge exhibition at M.I.T. in Boston, where Northwestern University’s Kellogg team came out on top. Parker noted that the event featured an uplifting cross-section of rising community-minded students with impressive proposals.