Sustainable Global Business Initiative (SGBI)


Sustainable Global Business Initiative (SGBI) banner

The Sustainable Global Business Initiative (SGBI) is a collaboration between the Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation and the Center for Global Business in the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. The goal of the initiative is to promote economic advancement and poverty alleviation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in developing countries. This initiative also provides scholarships for students and supports faculty conducting international sustainable poverty alleviation projects, with a particular focus on Africa.

Africa is a continent with immense natural and human resources as well as great cultural, ecological and economic diversity. However, it remains underdeveloped. The world’s poverty is increasingly concentrated within Africa. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs recently estimated that extreme poverty in the continent could rise further — by about 60 million people by 2030. SGBI understands that decelerating Africa’s deprivation is a global responsibility that comes with impediments. It requires more effort and teamwork among many stakeholders to improve the quality of life in Africa, which has become SGBI’s pressing mission.

History

At the beginning of 2019, the Naveen Jindal School of Management (JSOM) received funds from the Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation. The three primary objectives of the Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation funds are:

  • To establish a new partnership between the Jindal School of Management and local higher education institutions in host countries. The partnership’s primary objective is to collaborate on poverty alleviation programs by launching some of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and to encourage and support the cooperation between JSOM and universities in host countries.
  • To support JSOM’s students and faculty when traveling to poorer African countries while co-initiating and co-managing entrepreneurial poverty alleviation projects. Upon finishing their projects, students are expected to write a paper on the outcome. The research paper(s) will be presented at a biannual conference or workshop, organized by JSOM at UT Dallas, or used in a student case competition.
  • To support the Center for Global Business and Sustainable Global Business Initiative and organize biannual conferences, workshops, seminars and networking events among business leaders to increase awareness and establish a partnership to fight poverty by launching sustainable business initiatives.

Additionally, the fund will support the monthly breakfast meetings of SGBI’s advisory board and the Society of Sustainable Business (SSB). SSB is a registered student organization that supports SGBI in advancing the sustainability mission on campus and in the DFW area.

Acknowledgment

We would like to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to the Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation for supporting the Center for Global Business in the Jindal School. The foundation’s contribution has benefited students, faculty and the broader community at UT Dallas and around the world. The funding provided by the foundation assists students who are taking part in international travel and study abroad experiences, with a particular focus on Africa. The foundation also supports the activities and development of the SGBI in the Jindal School.

Read more about the Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation’s support.

Mission Statement

The Sustainable Global Business Initiative within the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas promotes efforts to cultivate sustainable economic initiatives that improve access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and poverty alleviation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in the poorest African countries. SGBI also works closely with DFW-based corporations that include sustainability in their mission and vision.

The mission of this initiative is inspired by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with a focus on SDG Goal 1: No Poverty.

The SGBI plans to act on its mission by:

  • Improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources
  • Providing universal access to basic social services
  • Progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves
  • Empowering people living in poverty and their organizations
  • Addressing the disproportionate impact of hardships on women
  • Working with interested donors and recipients to alleviate poverty by focusing on the most affected societal groups in representative African countries
  • Reinforcing international cooperation for poverty eradication.
Habte Woldu

Habte Woldu

Advisory Board Chairman and Director, Sustainable Global Business Initiative

Mike Peng

Mike Peng

O.P. Jindal Distinguished Chair of Global Strategy, UT Dallas
Executive Director, Center for Global Business

Nikunj Nirmal

Nikunj Nirmal

Director of Information Technology and Shadow Board Member, Tech Mahindra

Ryan Spicer

Ryan Spicer

Senior Manager Sustainability, PepsiCo

Mike Redeker

Mike Redeker

MBA’97 and MA’01 alumnus, Naveen Jindal School of Management
The Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation

Hubert Zydorek

Hubert Zydorek

Director, Center for Global Business

Gabriel Shumba

Gabriel Shumba

Founder, Shumba Group

What We Do

SGBI supports and manages such activities as poverty alleviation projects and social entrepreneurship by collaborating with African universities to empower the most vulnerable people in poverty. The initiative evaluates the efficiency of development efforts by participating in field services where projects are operational.

What We Have Done

Fruit Dehydration Business in Ethiopia

In July 2019, selected students from the Naveen Jindal School of Management Global Business program, in collaboration with Mekelle University, Ethiopia, developed a sustainable business plan to help a women’s group in Ethiopia establish Friat Partnership Association, a fruit-dehydration business. The students completed the project by assisting the group in acquiring funding and setting up the business operation. One project goal was to create a replicable business model capable of creating sustainable business across the African continent.

What We Are Doing

SGBI is committed to creating a community of sustainability scholars who will become future leaders as project/program coordinators in the nonprofit sector, business developers, program officers for international organizations, policymakers, researchers and consultants. SGBI welcomes students who want to engage in sustainability-related research, projects and activities by participating in a student organization, the Society of Sustainable Business (SSB).

The initiative empowers undergraduate and graduate students in the SSB to transform their interests, awareness and knowledge about sustainable development into undertakings that have real-life impact. By joining the SSB, students will learn and gain practical experience, skills and competencies to work for the future of social development and sustainability. The SSB students will develop poverty alleviation projects that will be included in a student competition and implemented locally or internationally.

To support the SGBI mission, the Society of Sustainable Business, a student organization, was created to convene students interested in responsible corporate sustainability. The group carries the mission globally with projects devoted to alleviating poverty. For more information, please contact Dr. Habte Woldu.

What We Plan to Do

Ann and Jack Graves Foundation Conference – (Virtual Conference)

The Sustainable Global Business Initiative of the Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation and the Center for Global Business at The University of Texas at Dallas will hold a conference on April 15-16, 2021.

This conference will bring together like-minded scholars, practitioners, policymakers and students involved in different aspects of sustainability as a solution to global business challenges. Presented papers will be published in proceedings.

The conference will cover the fields of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, international business, strategic management, cross-cultural management, industrial strategy and appropriate technology, and global entrepreneurship. Examples of possible conference topics include:

  • Social entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation programs
  • Technology as an enabler of sustainability
  • Investing in human capital for a sustainable global economy
  • Sustainable energy strategy as a solution for global energy crises
  • Corporate social responsibility and global stability
  • Sustainable market strategies for the bottom of the pyramid
  • Food processing initiatives for sustainability in emerging economies
  • Microfinancing as a tool for inclusive development goals
  • Sustainable economic development and social stability in emerging economies
  • Empowering women as a sustainable economic strategy
  • Gender equity and empowering women in business
  • Foreign direct investment and its impact on sustainability
  • The impact of South-South trade agreements as an alternative to current global trade
  • Sustainability in global supply chain management
  • Government’s role in sustainability and its monitoring

For more information visit the Ann and Jack Graves Foundation Conference Series page.

Society of Sustainable Business (SSB)

SGBI supports and assists a selected group of students (Society of Sustainable Business/SSB) who develop poverty alleviation projects. These projects will be included in a student competition and implemented locally or internationally.

To support the SGBI mission, the Society of Sustainable Business, a student organization, was created to convene students interested in responsible corporate sustainability. The group carries the mission globally with projects devoted to alleviating poverty.

If you want to join the SSB and participate in the SGBI, please contact Dr. Habte Woldu or visit: SSB Website (currently under construction).

Blog/Article/News

Mike Redeker and Habte Woldu
The SGBI, led by Dr. Habte Woldu, is a collaboration between the Naveen Jindal School of Management (JSOM) at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and the Ann and Jack Graves Charitable Foundation, represented by Mike Redeker, MBA’97 and MA’01. The main goal of the initiative is to raise awareness and alleviate poverty by engaging in various social projects and by hosting a conference to initiate dialogues between various organizations.
global business students at airport
The initiative funded a sustainable business project in Africa. Students who worked on the project founded the Society of Sustainable Business (SSB), a student organization at JSOM.
landscape of Tigray in northern Ethiopia
The business project took place in the northern part of Ethiopia, where the students teamed up with the local Mekelle University. Here, the students implemented a fruit dehydration business. They started by creating a business plan, proposal and timeline. Eventually, the students implemented the plan successfully by bringing on board all the stakeholders, including six single mothers who ran the day-to-day operations.
students pumping water
The partnership between the students and the local stakeholders not only focused on the conceptual level but also on achieving practical results, such as giving the female entrepreneurs the tools and training they needed to succeed.
global business students moving a water purifier
The picture above shows the students carrying a water purifier that was used for the dehydrator machine, which was essential to operate the business. To obtain the needed equipment, the students sourced a commercial dehydrator from South Africa. They also learned how to set it up and operate it properly.
Hubert Zydorek and students
Hubert Zydorek (right), one of the SSB’s advisors, supervised the students at the preparation for the business’ opening day.
members of sustainability project team
Members of the Ethiopian Sustainability Project team gathered in the warehouse that was used for the fruit dehydration business. The team negotiated with Ethiopian government to procure the facility, which Friat rented for roughly $30 per month.
students working with workers on dehyrdated fruit production
The business’ objective was to alleviate poverty by empowering women with entrepreneurial skills and spirit. This goal aligned with two Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the United Nations to transform our world, specifically, No Poverty (Goal No. 1) and Gender Equality (Goal No. 5).
student and workers learning how to package fruits
Skills and knowledge transfer to the female owner-operators was crucial to ensuring that they could continue to successfully operate the business independently and generate a sustainable income for their households.
fruits in trays dehydrating
After the UT Dallas students returned to Dallas, the responsibility for the business’ daily operations was turned over to the owner-operators.
final product of dried fruits
The photo above shows the final product of the Friat Dehydration Association, which was to be distributed to hotels, daycare facilities and universities. Lessons learned from this project will be leveraged in other emerging countries.

Learn more about the SGBI’s current event by visiting the Ann and Jack Graves Foundation Conference Series page.

Contact SGBI

Mailing Address

The Naveen Jindal School of Management
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 West Campbell Road
Richardson, TX 75080
(SM 43)

Dr. Habte Woldu Director
Sustainable Global Business Initiative
Imelda Freddy Administrative Assistant
Sustainable Global Business Initiative

Get Involved

Support Us

We are grateful for support and donations for our mission and program. All donations will be used to support our mission to promote sustainability and alleviate poverty. You may donate online through the Giving Page (coming soon).

Volunteer

We welcome all active UT Dallas students who want to volunteer to help with our programs. Our volunteers will be involved in various SGBI activities, such as organizing events, researching, writing articles, updating social media, maintaining the SGBI website, and much more! Please contact us to discuss how you can get involved as a volunteer.