The Ballard Center is deliberate about which partners and projects qualify for this program. Partner organizations include nonprofits, socially innovative enterprises, companies with compelling corporate social responsibility programs, impact investors, microcredit organizations, and more. Projects can cover a variety of aspects and may include some of the following objectives:
- Create marketing material
- Develop business tools
- Assess and improve programs and initiatives
- Research vexing business questions
- Measure and demonstrate results
See our examples below to learn how student teams have made a meaningful impact with our vetted partners.
Google Community Leaders Program
When Google Fiber came to Provo in 2013, the company also brought its Community Leaders Program (CLP), which works to eliminate the digital divide in communities. CLP came to the Ballard Center to determine how best to work in Provo.
Students created an advertising video (see below) explaining Google’s CLP initiative. In conjunction with a number of community organizations, students worked to develop best practices for class curriculum, events, and sustainable programs.
“Working with the students has been an absolute pleasure. . . .We try not to give all the direction and answers for how to operate the program. As the students struggle and work through solutions, they are typically better than we thought originally!”
— John Merrifield, Google CLP
Solutions Journalism Network
Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) was founded in 2013. As a new organization looking to educate people about solutions journalism, SJN needed to create ways to share its message. The network has since worked with three different student teams to do various marketing projects including website design, informational videos (see below), and marketing research. Many of these projects are prominently featured on the network’s website.
Fundación Paraguaya recently developed the Poverty Stoplight as both a metric and a methodology for helping people get out of poverty. Poverty is divided into a fifty-indicator survey that helps break poverty down into manageable pieces. Students created an eighty-four-page manual describing how others can adapt this methodology around the world. This manual is currently being used in India, Paraguay, and South Africa.
Bamba Water is a business created by former Ballard research fellow Jason Fairbourne. The company sells clean drinking water in Kenya at a fraction of the price of its competitors with drastically lower plastic waste. Bamba Water employs mostly Kenyan natives but often requires ongoing training to equip employees with the skills they need to succeed. SIP interns created nineteen different trainings on topics ranging from team building to ethical questions. These trainings are being used in all weekly training meetings.
US Synthetic manufactures synthetic diamond material to make drilling bits. The company has a strong corporate social responsibility program, including a foundation called Asante, which works primarily in Africa.
Students analyzed how the company could expand its community outreach program with employees. Working in close harmony with company employees, students drafted a plan to implement the US Serve Program, a service-focused supplement to their Engineering Good program. Students witnessed firsthand how a for-profit company could Do Good Better.
This infographic was created as part of the final presentation to illustrate the impact of US Synthetic’s Engineering Good program. US Synthetic continues to use this image when sharing its story.
Click on the infographic to enlarge the image.
Academy for Creative Enterprise
Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE) works with necessity entrepreneurs to learn how to start and run a small business. To motivate and support its alumni, ACE sponsors annual awards programs. SIP interns worked with offices in Mexico and the Philippines to develop two manuals that outline how to implement the awards program for branches of ACE. Students played an active role in improving ACE’s effectiveness in teaching entrepreneurial skills to individuals in developing countries.
For more information, please watch this video as ACE CEO Robert Heyn describes the partnership between ACE and SIP:
Fairtrasa works to lift small-scale farmers out of poverty by helping them become organic producers and exporters. As Fairtrasa looked to expand its locations, the organization needed help researching different crop prices and market trends. Students researched multiple sources to procure the best data on specific fruits and their monthly pricing at different ports in the United States and Europe. Based on this research, students reported on best practices and made recommendations. Fairtrasa CEO Patrick Struebi, who also works as a Yale World Fellow, currently uses this report in his work with graduate students.
The final deliverable was a sixty-four-page research report which included data on production, imports/exports, prices, competitors, and best practices.
Started in 2008, doTERRA produces a line of essential oils and oil blends which are sold through a network of more than one million independent distributors around the world. These oils are used by consumers for personal care, spa products, nutritional supplements, and healthy living products. The company’s corporate social responsibility initiative, known as Co-Impact Sourcing, works with a global network of family farmers and distillers in countries facing economic and environmental challenges to provide job opportunities and economic stability.
SIP students worked with doTERRA to further develop their Co-Impact Sourcing program with expansion initiatives and recommendations that are currently under consideration.
Solutions Journalism Network
The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) wanted to understand whether people engaged differently with solutions stories than they did with stories about problems. An SIP team worked to create a survey that was used to demonstrate audience reactions to solutions journalism. Students also worked to research and document the journey taken by Deseret News in its adaptation of this approach.