BYU social entrepreneur students help with Vittana, nonprofit micro-loaning

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 4:05 p.m. MST

Another reason the company believed students would be effective in raising awareness and help with Vittana's mission was the concept of money to students, who believe "if they are going to give, they want it to do something," Duncan said.

The result of including BYU with Vittana's work has been both impactful and hopeful.

"It's an eye opener when you hear that many students in other countries either have to have money in cash to pay tuition, or they don't go to college," BYU student Curtis Pope said. "In talking to other college students, that came as a surprise. We did a fundraiser, set up a booth and the majority would go by and say, 'I had no idea that students were in that kind of predicament.' Many don't realize loaning money by this medium to students is a good and available option.

"It was cool to see that light click … students like hearing what Vittana is doing," he said.

Pope is studying economics and was an on-campus intern for Vittana through the Ballard Center. He knew he wanted to do something with microfinance and some type of social service-oriented mission, and the experience with Vittana gave him "a perfect opportunity to be personally introduced into those fields," he said.

"It's really just that foot in the door. Instead of it being a theoretical class, this is the real world, this is what real companies are doing," Pope said. "The Ballard Center offered a hands-on experience in the real world."

Mandy Morgan is an enterprise intern for the Deseret News, reporting on values in the media. She is a true-blue Aggie, studying journalism and political science at Utah State University, and hails from Highland, Utah.

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