Urban Poverty and Business Initiative

The Urban Poverty and Business Initiative (UPBI) promotes programs across the country which serve to help the poor start and grow businesses of their own.  

Universities can play a transformational role in society, and entrepreneurship represents a powerful vehicle for doing so. Toward this end, we seek to build a community of universities and nonprofit organizations committed to poverty alleviation and the empowering potential of entrepreneurship. By leveraging the rich pool of resources available across our university campuses, together with the untapped resources that can be marshaled through community partnerships, we can make a serious dent in poverty.

The Urban Poverty and Business Initiative is a collaboration among a growing set of partners who work with those in low-income, disadvantaged, and otherwise adverse circumstances in helping them start and grow sustainable businesses of their own. While each program is operated independently, and tailored to reflect local circumstances, we share a common model, structure, tool set, and administrative approach.

Our underlying philosophy is that anyone is capable of being an entrepreneur and that all start-ups matter.  We view entrepreneurship as a learnable process, but also as a journey that involves a definable set of steps. Our approach centers on activity-based metrics and the belief that, for every step we can help a disadvantaged entrepreneur take, she or he will take two or three more on their own.

Our goal is to support the launch of hundreds of entrepreneurship and adversity programs in urban areas across the globe. We provide a turnkey approach to implementing an entrepreneurship and adversity program in your community.  Further, UPBI exists to encourage sharing, mutual support, and identification of best practices among the organizations and cities that get involved.

Our experience is that entrepreneurship can truly provide a pathway out of poverty. Please consider joining the UPBI.  For more information, contact Dr. Michael H. Morris at mmorri24@nd.edu.