SVSU Social Entrepreneurship

Saginaw Valley State University, 2008 - $6,500

This team seeks to expand the existing minor in entrepreneurship offered at Saginaw Valley State University. Emphasis is placed on mid-Michigan as a region undergoing economic transformation, due primarily to the fall of its industrial base, auto parts and assembly. There is an economic shift to a high tech economy in the region, with business start-ups focusing on alternative energy, biomaterials, and healthcare. SVSU has taken a leadership role, providing support through faculty, staff, and laboratory facilities for entrepreneurs. This grant will create a social entrepreneurship course focused on the use of local materials to create low-cost and nutritious food.

Natural gas is currently relied on for the production of nitrogen fertilizer. As a result of economic changes (increased energy prices, increased demand for biofuels, and adverse weather conditions in major food production regions), more governments are searching for practical alternatives that can sell food without long supplies chains and without reliance on gas-based fertilizer. SVSU will recycle dining hall garbage by vermiculture, a process that generates organic nutrients for plant growth. The fertilizer is subsequently used in soil-born plants and hydroponic vegetable growing systems in greenhouses. Aquaponics, the use of natural bacteria to convert ammonia fish excrement into nitrate for plan fertilizer, will be added.