Square One

Square One consists of CSB/SJU students that seeks to create lasting micro-business ventures in developing countries. Each year, a team of students travels to a developing country with the goal of empowering an impoverished community through sustainable business. Square One is a student-run organization that operates like a non-profit. It is a spin off of a student organization called Enactus, which is a global network of students dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship.

Each sustainable business venture is designed to financially support an educational institution serving an underdeveloped community so that more children can go to school, using education as a way to break free from the cycle of poverty.

Since 2011, Square One has established three sustainable entrepreneurial projects. Two SJU students led the first project, building a chicken coop in Uganda for a school called Hope Academy. With this newfound opportunity, Hope Academy is able to sell the eggs from the chickens, which teaches children valuable entrepreneurial skills. The profit allows Hope Academy to sustain a revenue stream to pay their teachers to educate the children. A year later, Square One returned to Hope Academy in Uganda, this time equipped with five students ready to help. There they built a pig farming business, which continues to pay the teachers' salaries at the orphanage today. The next location visited was in Kenya one year later. Six students worked hard to construct a business to confront deficiency first-hand at a center for street children in the Mathare slums. Square One built a BioMass Press business; BioMass Presses recycle organic waste into a briquette that can be used as a fire source. This is not only a safe way to cook, but it also saves the people of the Mathare slums money.

A fourth project is to be implemented in December. We chose to implement our upcoming project in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with approximately 380,000 orphan residents. Looking into the current conditions that the people of Haiti endure each day, we determined it was an ideal destination for starting a sustainable business venture. Three members flew down earlier this year to complete step one of our three-step process in order to generate the most beneficial project idea possible. There they discovered an orphanage that could use the helping hands of Square One. Our members found that establishing a chicken coop would not only greatly benefit the children of the orphanage, but also the surrounding community. From the moment our three members returned, the entire thirty-member Square One team started planning a five-student return trip to Haiti to construct the small business.

Square One has developed a three-step process for its program:

1. The Discovery Phase: Students are sent to our designated destination in search of pressing issues that exist in the area and look for ways that we can solve those issues. We must assess the needs of the underdeveloped community in order to create a project directed towards their needs.

2. The Implementation Phase: Students begin and finish the project in about two weeks. The business is established in this stage and the locals are able to run the business on their own.

3. The Reevaluation Phase: Students are sent back to the site to ensure that our project is sustainable and positively affecting the surrounding community. In this phase, we can provide incentives and make improvements to make our projects more sustainable.

Each year, we independently fundraise our entire budget for the project and all travel expenses. This year, we will be relying on donors for our project "Hand Up for Haiti". This project will consist of creating a sustainable chicken coop business at a local orphanage. Here is how you can help us become closer to reaching our goal:

  • Adopt a chicken for $25
  • Adopt a flock for $100
  • Feed the chickens for two weeks for $250

Our projects would not be possible without the finances and support of businesses, families, and friends. Aside from the plane tickets and cost of living during our stay in Haiti, we need to accumulate the money to purchase chickens, chicken feed, shots for chickens to prevent disease, and building materials for the chicken coop. Another big purchase we plan to make is grinders. Grinders will provide an inexpensive way to feed the animals for years to come.

Although the initial cost can add up to be a lot of money, Square One's establishments are not a temporary donation to the people of Haiti. This chicken coop will provide profit to the orphanage for years on end. The cost is not only giving them an opportunity to create profit, but also an opportunity to gain valuable skills; something you cannot put a price tag on. Every dollar donated goes a long ways towards helping this project become a success. Please consider making a donation and supporting our students and their project to help change the world!

For donations, please make checks payable to Saint John's University. It is important to include Square One in the memo line. All donations can be sent to: Joseph "Joby" NolanSJU # 13952850 Abbey PlazaCollegeville, MN 56321If you have any further questions about donating to Square One's project "Hands Up for Haiti", please contact Joby at jcnolan@csbsju.edu or squareonecsbsju@gmail.com.