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Baylor University's Center for Professional Selling Joins 3M Social Impact Program in Uganda

Sept. 10, 2010

by Becca Broaddus

Baylor University's Center for Professional Selling will participate in the Sales for Social Impact program (SSI), an introduction to the sales role in a social venture's business, in Uganda this fall.

The Acara Institute and 3M developed the SSI program to address social venture sales efforts since most social ventures, which are often non-profit, are underfunded and understaffed.

"This project touches the heart of Baylor's uniqueness and Christian heritage," Jim Anderson, an international marketing professor and SSI faculty instructor, said.

The program is available to Hankamer School of Business students through Anderson's international marketing class. Students will develop a sales plan for a technology-based agriculture product in Uganda.

"While we normally focus on the upper end of society for business growth and development in our International Marketing class, more than half of the world population exists on $2 per day, and has been described as the 'Base of the Pyramid,'" Anderson said. "The SSI project focuses on bringing sustainable prosperity to individuals living in Uganda through establishing a value-added market for the distribution of products designed to better Ugandan lives."

Andrea Dixon, executive director for the Baylor University Center for Professional Selling, will serve as mentor to the team and offer two to three hours of individual coaching per week.

"Participating in this 3M program fits with our mission as Baylor's Center for Professional Selling program always works to be at the forefront of developing our students' knowledge and skills to meet the changing business environment," Dixon said.

The September launch will include Baylor, six other U.S. universities and Makerere University in Uganda. The SSI program is in collaboration with St. Paul, Minn. non-profit company, Compatible Technology International (CTI).

"We are pleased to be one of seven universities participating in this collaboration which will help our students learn how to build a sales plan in a developing market," Dixon said.

Through the course, the international marketing graduate and undergraduate students will formulate research questions, generate new market research, and use that information to create a sales plan for a real product.

Although the SSI culminates in a formal sales plan for selling CTI's products in Uganda, the ideas presented can be applied to selling any product or service in any Base of the Pyramid market.

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