Whether transforming an existing company or creating a new venture, our award-winning, one-year Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) reinvents the MBA degree to address directly the core challenges we face-- environment, ethics, poverty and inequality—through the lens of enterprise and entrepreneurship.  Part of the syllabus focuses not only the basic MBA toolkit, but also the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to create tomorrow’s truly inclusive and sustainable enterprises.

To that end, SEMBA students and Net Impact members Caitlin Goss, Diane Abruzzini and Margaret Arzon, organized an event with Milk Money founders Janice Shade and Louisa Schibli to invite entrepreneurs supported by the investment fund to pitch their businesses to UVM students, faculty and staff. Milk Money is an online equity crowd-funding portal that connects Vermont's investors with Vermont entrepreneurs.

City Market and New Moon sponsored lunch, and a large crowd gathered to hear from the members of Burlington Herb Clinic, Kingdom Fiber, Green Mountain Organic Creamery and a new client that Milk Money has not yet revealed. Each company gave a 5-minute pitch with 10 minutes for Q&A and feedback. Think “Shark Tank” for impact investing.

Co-organizer Margaret Arzon stated “we created this event to bring together students, faculty and staff interested in entrepreneurial ventures, and connect them to people who are currently putting into action everything we are learning in the classroom. We believe in supporting organizations that are creating a social and environmental good, and want to encourage Vermonters to invest in businesses they care about. Not only is it a chance for us to learn about local businesses in need of investment, but it also gives those organizations a chance to practice their pitches, answer questions and receive feedback from a business-minded audience.”
She continued, “SEMBA has a significant focus on utilizing community resources to drive business innovation, and to us Milk Money is a prime example of taking something like impact investing, traditionally reserved for the wealthy, and making it possible for anyone in Vermont to invest. It enables people to put their money towards a business directly supporting the Vermont economy.”

Janice Shade from Milk Money stated "we really appreciate SEMBA students' initiative to create an opportunity for Milk Money campaign companies to practice and perfect their pitches.  The students asked tough but fair questions that reflect the kind of questions likely to be raised by potential investors.  We'd love to see this become a regular event with SEMBA and Milk Money."

As impact investing continues to take root and flourish across the globe, the UVM Net Impact chapter will be a part of unearthing opportunities and providing a forum for support.

Arzon concluded “because Net Impact is a global community of students and professionals taking on social and environmental challenges by using business for the greater good, it is already closely aligned with SEMBA. Subsequently Net Impact empowers student-led initiatives that express our passion for sustainability beyond the SEMBA classroom, and tailor our efforts accordingly. For example, this year we wanted to collaborate more with professionals in the community outside of our existing SEMBA network, which prompted us to connect with Janice and Louisa to bring in the entrepreneurs from Milk Money for the pitch event.”

If you would like more information on our SEMBA program or Net Impact chapter, please email semba@uvm.edu



John M Turner
Attentive crowd
Hilary Devos - Green Mountain Organic Creamery