Student Impact Project:

B Lab Africa

After coming to Michigan, I took a class, Environ 208, where I was first introduced to this incredible community of Erbers. I was immediately drawn to the purpose and focus on business and sustainability. In the coming weeks, I will be introduced to students of all ages doing various projects worldwide and in the local communities addressing sustainability. After that, I was sold and never looked back. This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to live in Nairobi, Kenya where I worked with B Lab Africa to improve businesses at the frontiers of impact and 4G Capital to provide loans to small business owners around Africa.

B Lab Africa is an organization leading an economic system change in Africa. Their parent company B Lab is a globally recognized organization certifying companies that use business for good. Certified B Corporations are businesses that do more than make a profit. B Corps prioritizes people and our planet in everything they do, meeting social and environmental performance standards, transparency, and accountability.

I have been fortunate to live in some less frequented parts of the world. I have gained a different perspective on the grave environmental challenges gripping small communities and nations. It was incredible to see such a tight-knit community addressing the future of Africa and guiding it to a place at the intersection of business and sustainability. In addition, coming from a background in finance, I was suitably equipped to help a partnered B Corp 4G Capital with its mission of becoming the new bank for Africa. Their incredible collection rates and positive success stories have revolutionized an industry plagued by malpractice and bad faith.

I was given expansion projects around the African continent and beyond, identifying ecosystems and varying political systems limiting and enhancing the impact that B Lab could do. To unify the current B Corps community around Africa, a B Corp Summit was planned and executed, bringing 50+ companies hailing from Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and more. It proved an incredible way to get like-minded executives together for one day to brainstorm and collaborate on projects around Africa.

I created target country packs that were acted on for future expansion and due diligence research to help secure funding from large corporations to further the impact of B Corps. As the B Corp network begins to grow, they require all willing and able around the world to join in on this movement to create business for good and save the planet. It starts with the little things you do at home and grows into the life you lead. If you are ever interested, numerous companies are addressing an array of sustainability issues around the world that could use your support.

It was an experience that I will never forget. Without the generous support of Erb, I would not have been able to gain the life-changing perspective of the opportunities presented around the world to improve sustainability through business. The opportunities like these that Erb supports and emphasizes to its students make this community unique.