Investours and the Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs are working together and expand the organization’s relationship with the university.
Elly Rohrer, Investours Mexico division director, spoke Tuesday at Barsema Hall about her work with Investours, an international organization with cultural tours in Tanzania and Mexico. Investours brings small tourist groups to local entrepreneurs, generating business on an individual level for those in economically unstable regions.
The group became involved with NIU when Dennis Barsema, instructor and the association’s faculty adviser, took his micro-finance class to Mexico in April. There, the students met Rohrer.
“The great thing about them is that they have a double-sided model,” Barsema said. “They’re introducing the uneducated to the needs of the world, and at the same time they’re doing a great service for their clients.”
Zach Fiegel, Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs president, said in summer 2012 association members interned with Investours in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and helped local entrepreneurs with financial planning. Fiegel said the association is looking to continue its relationship with Investours and provide more opportunities to students.
“We hope to work with different social enterprises like Investours and have students do some projects for them,” Fiegel said.
Rohrer said internships in Mexico are not the only way to become involved with Investours. She said there are opportunities in marketing and website content within the organization.
Rohrer also expressed interest in expanding within NIU and said its social entrepreneur emphasis within the College of Business is something “unique.”
“There’s a lot of value for the students,” Rohrer said. “For students to come to Mexico, it’s really an advantage for them, and it’s great for us, too. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”
The next six months will be Investours’ “high season,” Rohrer said, with plans for more chances for involvement.
“I see us having people down for seminars in the wintertime, so in January we’ll have students on the ground, which is exciting,” Rohrer said. “I see us running about four to six tours a month this season, and also putting a lot of our focus on expanding our partnerships.”
Rohrer said it’s possible to find success in non-traditional career paths, encouraging attendees to get involved.
“We as young people have opportunities available to us to create unprecedented change,” Rohrer said.