Entrepreneurs of the World, MOBI-lize!

$10 million endowment for a program that’s free, online, and global: My Own Business Institute arrives on campus.

Here’s a story about bringing economic well-being to communities around the world. It’s happening through My Own Business Institute (MOBI), launched at SCU’s Leavey School of Business in October 2014, thanks to Phil and Peggy Holland. The Hollands are entrepreneurs and educators. MOBI was their brainchild, founded more than 20 years ago as My Own Business Inc., the first organization in the world to offer a free, comprehensive, and graded online course on starting a business.

MOBI is now part of SCU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. With a $10 million endowment from the Hollands to support MOBI, plans to expand the couple’s pioneering work include development of the MOBI Fellows—a hands-on learning experience incorporating the principles of entrepreneurship—and an extension of the My Own Business curriculum around the world. SCU will also use the MOBI platform to help teach entrepreneurs through two existing Santa Clara programs: the California Program for Entrepreneurship, which provides education and mentoring to approximately 40 California entrepreneurs each year; and the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, which provides support for small businesses in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

CAUSE AND EFFECTIVENESS

MOBI has its roots in response to tragedy: the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. Economic development in south-central LA was needed, and Phil Holland wanted to help small-business entrepreneurs play a role. His own business accomplishments include founding Yum Yum Donuts, launched in 1971 with $5,000 and built into the largest privately owned doughnut chain in the country.

He offered a free business course at the Compton Job Training Center. Things grew from there. Peggy Holland, an experienced school administrator, principal, and teacher, developed the original course to teach people how to start their own businesses and to support the return of a vibrant, healthy community. Curriculum was based on two books Phil Holland had written, then expanded to include advice from an array of successful business people—and taught in Spanish. The course went online in 2000 and has drawn more than 40 million visitors. Partnerships were formed with the World Bank and Cisco Systems, which licensed the MOBI course for its enterprise institute—reaching 49 countries.

“We initially sought to help people start businesses and create jobs in economically disadvantaged areas so families and communities would flourish,” Phil Holland says. So it’s gratifying that Santa Clara “will continue our mission to help those who need it most by leveraging the global network of Jesuit universities to expand our reach and to keep the online course accessible and free to all who might benefit from it.”

Read more at: scu.edu/business/mobi.

post-image Start here now: Phil and Peggy Holland with Angie Park, center, a MOBI alumna who launched the Crossroads Cafe in the City of Industry. Photo by Charles Barry
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