Sustainable Inclusive Growth: New Courses Provide Students Real-World Global Experience

A group of students exploring an Indonesian plastic project. (USC Photo/Matthew Quintana)

Through six unique, multi-year projects, Professor SRIRAM DASU and his students will identify large-scale solutions that can be used by tens of thousands of businesses throughout the world, with a focus on Africa and Southeast Asia.

Dasu and his students are stepping out of the classroom and into the field. They have a mission to create highly scalable data solutions for micro and small businesses across the globe through a new hands-on project-based course (BUAD 493 Global Applied Honors Research Seminar) that addresses global environmental issues and the problems facing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The goal of the course is to support sustainability and enable inclusive economic growth.

MSMEs are the backbone of many emerging economies, employing 60% of the workforce. Despite that, these enterprises often don’t have access to the information and technology needed to make critical business decisions. While individually, they are tiny, collectively they are numerous. This suggests there are categories of problems with solutions that can be widely deployed.

By partnering with larger organizations that work with hundreds of small businesses, Dasu and his students are able to connect with enterprises operating in the most rural parts of the world. “What we are doing is working with larger organizations that have access to many small enterprises. This allows us to learn about their real problems and develop solutions that can be made available to micro and small businesses globally,” said Dasu.

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