College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Contact Us

Madhu Viswanathan, Director
61 Wohlers Hall
1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL, 61820
(217) 333-4550

College » Subsistence » Service Learning » Entrepreneurs Without Borders

Entrepreneurs Without Borders

Featured photo.


Entrepreneurs Without Borders will focus on using entrepreneurship as a means to address problems in subsistence marketplaces as well as enabling entrepreneurship within these communities. Entrepreneurs Without Borders (EWOB) will be distinctive in the degree to which the student experience is designed from research and educational experiences in the academic domain.


Entrepreneurs Without Borders focuses on being entrepreneurial and enabling entrepreneurship in subsistence marketplaces around the world. These two core elements of being entrepreneurial and enabling entrepreneurship, capture the goals of developing students for global challenges of the 21st serving impoverished communities.


The focus of EWOB covers the realm of low-income settings in advanced economies as well as setting of more widespread poverty in developing economies. Unlike the typical service learning experience, EWOB is a collaborative effort between faculty, staff and students founded at the University of Illinois. As such, it overlays pioneering research, teaching, and social initiatives on subsistence marketplaces on the student learning experience. Specifically, the EWOB experience will include systematic learning of current knowledge about subsistence marketplaces as well as methods for gaining insights through an online learning experience, careful design of international immersion experiences to both understand subsistence contexts and design solutions, and use of curriculum based on marketplace literacy education to teach entrepreneurship in impoverished communities. These three elements draw from relevant work through the Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative, University of Illinois, which has pioneered research, education, and social initiatives, and created unique synergies between them. Short-term plans include pilot chapters in India and in the US. Longer-term plans include chapters world-wide that adopt the curriculum and practices of the founding EWOB chapter.The mission and vision were developed and initial activities piloted with a group of students in 2013-14.

Specific activities in 2014-15 include:
1. International Immersion in South and North India, working with SRM College, Chennai, and Kurukshetra University, Haryana.
2.International immersion in Argentina


Important outcomes include stimulatng the growth of businesses in local and international subsistence marketplaces, raising, awareness among students at the University of Illinois and attracting potential leaders to build entrepreneurship in subsistence marketplaces. Our success would be defined by two parts; for students, to learn about subsistence marketplaces and applying their skills to provide realistic business strategies for entrepreneurs.


UIUC College of Business