Canisius College has launched a truly inspirational program in conjunction withe Rich Products that is already reaping major benefits. The program is called Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). The initial beneficiary of the program is Kaji Sunwar, the proprietor of Sagarmatha Groceries, a Nepalese/Bhutanese food market that hosted a ribbon cutting at 489 Grant Street earlier today.
The way that the partnership works is that students from SIFE’s Classroom and Community Partnership for Economic Development (CACPED) program were given a $30,000 student-managed micro-loan. The money was donated to SIFE by Rich Products in order to fuel the initiative that is being used to generate growth in the West Side’s small business sector. The West Side was chosen due to SIFE’s Refugee Economic Development Initiative that identifies community leaders and businessmen such as Kaji Sunwar who are looking for help to launch businesses that will ultimately lead to community revitalization. In this case, SIFE allocated the full amount of the micro-loan to Sunwar in order for the market to open fully stocked and with appropriate hardware.
To ensure the success of this program, Canisius College students not only worked to get the business up and running, they will also offer ongoing support to ensure that the business stays afloat. That means that not only will they be helping to track the financials, they will also be behind the counter cashing out customers, tracking inventory and fulfilling orders as needed. This is a big win for the West Side and Canisius college students. It’s also a welcome boost for the refugee community. The opening of Sagarmatha is the result of an exciting coroporate-student-busineness partnership. One that we will hopefully be seeing a lot more of in the future.
Lead photo: Bridget Eimer (Canisius student), Kaji Sunwar, Brianne Victor (Canisius student)