College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Business 101 Module - sustainable businesses for subsistence marketplaces

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We offer a module required for all (approximately 600) first semester undergraduate business students on developing sustainable businesses for subsistence marketplaces as a part of a Business 101 course on professional responsibility.

Business 101 consists of three modules organized around responsibility for oneself, to one's organization, and to the larger society. Business 101 addresses  responsibility as it relates to "me" as a business professional, "us" as a profession, and "larger than us" as engaging in business activity in the global world of the 21st century.  Module 3 emphasizes this "larger than us" element and responsibility to the larger society while reinforcing the first two elements. This is accomplished by:

.     Developing an understanding of marketplace activity in the radically different context, i.e.  of subsistence where much of humanity resides and survives

.     Envisioning the role of business in creating economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable products for subsistence marketplaces

Classes and assignments are organized to achieve these objectives.
To develop an understanding of a radically different context, a number of individual assignments include analyzing interviews of individuals living in poverty in India, participating in a poverty simulation and writing impressions about poverty in the US, and analyzing videos of poverty in Africa.

To envision the role of business in such contexts, group assignments include developing a sustainable product solution that addresses the needs of individuals and communities living at or near subsistence anywhere around the world, developing a brief business plan for a startup company based on the product solution, including a report and an in-class presentation, and preparing a poster of the business for a poster session to a larger audience."

Later versions of the moduel involve developing a Professional Responsibility Stakeholder Engagement Plan for introducing a new product in an emerging market. Students work with concepts that have come out of the yearlong course on Sustainable Product and Market Development for Subsistence Marketplaces.

Course Overview

Download the Course Overview.

Sample Design of Module on Sustainable Businesses for Subsistence

Marketplaces - Please email for password


To learn more please visit the Business 101 website.


UIUC College of Business