General Motors is providing 12 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicles to help expand a unique program that matches local entrepreneurs and MBA students committed to revitalizing small businesses across America.
MBAs Across America launched last year when four first-year Harvard MBA students drove 8,000 miles across the country, offering free business counseling to local entrepreneurs. With the success of their journey, two of the original team members expanded the program into a nonprofit organization.
Eight MBA teams from Babson, Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, and University of Michigan will visit 25 cities this summer, including Detroit, helping nearly 50 small businesses.
“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. “We are inspired by GM’s work in the MotorCity, and thank them for their support in powering our teams’ journeys in Chevy Volts.”
The MBA students will help seven Detroit metro area businesses: Detroit Empowerment Plan, Ellis Island Tea, EliTea, Oakland Living, the Social Club Grooming Company, Social Sushi, and Sweet Potato Sensations.
Sebastian Jackson, founder of the Social Club Grooming Company in Detroit, was among the first entrepreneurs the MBA students worked with in 2013. Since working with MBAs Across America, Jackson has tripled the revenue of his hair salon and recently received a $100,000 no-equity investment from a local investor.
“We wanted to help enable the vision of MBA students, entrepreneurs, and catalysts coming together to make America stronger, one community at a time,” said GM CEO Mary Barra. “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.”
The Chevrolet Volt, which can travel approximately 38 all-electric miles on a single charge, will expose the MBAs to the quiet and efficient EV driving experience and can go more than 300 additional miles between charges by seamlessly switching to a gasoline-powered generator that provides electricity to turn the wheels. With OnStar 4G LTE, owners can explore new features like a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot capable of connecting up to seven devices, as well as improved access to existing OnStar safety and security services.