The WaTER Center encourages entrepreneurial activities to promote feasible technologies in the regions where it works. In both Ethiopia and Cambodia, the WaTER Center team is assessing the role of entrepreneurship in the creation of water purifying and sanitation techniques.
Dr. Lowell Busenitz, the co-founder and Academic Director of the OU Center for Entrepreneurship and member of the WaTER Center team, has been pivotal in helping the WaTER Center see the value of social entrepreneurship and promoting entrepreneurship at the University of Oklahoma. His research has appeared in the leading journals in management and entrepreneurship, and he has recently co-authored an article defining the scope and substance of social entrepreneurship. His current research includes in the incorporation of SE and business principles into water system analysis, including the assessment of market and small business potential. Dr. Busenitz will be traveling to Ethiopia with the WaTER Center team later this summer.
Under Dr. Busenitz's leadership, social entrepreneurship has become a focus for many OU students. In April, a group of OU students competed in the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition, hosted by the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, where they placed second. The competition challenged 22 participating schools to propose a plan for a socially valuable and profitable business. The OU team proposed "Bright Sanitation", which would provide cost-effective, self-contained toilets for India's urban slums. The $10,000 prize awarded the OU students' desire to promote sanitation, dignity, and safety.