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General Motors Helps MBA Students Become Entrepreneurs

US carmaker General Motors is helping MBA students across the US turn to entrepreneurship.

Tue Aug 5 2014

General Motors, the US’s biggest carmaker by sales, has thrown its considerable weight behind an initiative designed to help MBA students become entrepreneurs.

The domestic manufacturing giant, which has just posted a sales increase of 9%, has donated 12 electric cars made by Chevrolet, one of its automobile divisions, to expand a unique MBA program in America.

MBAs Across America matches local entrepreneurs and MBA students committed to revitalizing small businesses across the US. Chevrolet has provided a dozen extended-range electric Volts to help the MBA students whizz across the States and dish out entrepreneurial expertise to struggling businesses.

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, said: “We wanted to help enable the vision of MBA students, entrepreneurs, and catalysts coming together to make America stronger, one community at a time.

“We're delighted to be a partner in this extraordinary program and we could not be more proud that Detroit is at the heart of it.”

Since he opened his doors to MBA entrepreneurs last year, Sebastian Jackson has tripped the revenue of his hair salon, and recently received a $100,000 no-equity investment from a local investor.

He is one of a legion of small business owners to benefit from the extracurricular activities of a crop of MBA students.

Eight MBA teams from Babson, Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, California: Berkeley and Michigan Ross will visit 25 cities this summer, in a bid to help nearly 50 small businesses.

MBAs Across America launched last year when four first-year Harvard MBA students drove 8,000 miles across the US, offering free business counselling to local entrepreneurs.

With the success of their journey, two of the original team members expanded the program into a non-profit organization.

This year, the MBA students will help seven Detroit metro area businesses – including Detroit Empowerment Plan, Ellis Island Tea, EliTea, Oakland Living, the Social Club Grooming Company, Social Sushi, and Sweet Potato Sensations.

“Detroit is the spiritual birthplace of MBAs Across America, so it is fitting that our movement enters its second year thanks to the visionary support of GM – an iconic American institution that we fundamentally believe will help lead the resurgence of Detroit in the years to come,” said Casey Gerald, founder and chief executive of MBAs Across America.