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Habitat for Neighborhood Business

Two students wearing business clothes stand in front of a presentation screen that reads "Institute for Personal and Professional Development, L L C".

Saint Louis University students present about their work with Habitat for Neighborhood Business program participants at an event in 2023.

Established in 2006 by Saint Louis University Chaifetz School alumnus Doug Brown '66, Habitat for Neighborhood Business is a nonprofit organization that partners with volunteers from the school and the local business community to help restore economic vitality to disadvantaged St. Louis neighborhoods.

The HNB program at SLU serves 53 minority entrepreneurs who own businesses in north St. Louis City. The nonprofit provides small-business assistance like mentoring on start-up logistics and connections to small business loan programming, an advisory board, and access to a thriving network of aspiring minority entrepreneurs. HNB works with volunteers and entrepreneurs to return retail and service businesses to struggling urban neighborhoods. 

Recent Partnership Work

The umbrella Habitat for Neighborhood Business organization initiated several program components in 2023. Many of these initiatives include collaboration with the Chaifetz School of Business, including: 

Revamped Student-Entrepreneur Collaboration with Service Leadership

Undergraduate Service Leadership students from the Chaifetz School are paired with HNB entrepreneurs to study their assigned businesses. This program was extended to a two-semester commitment in 2023. The student teams provide recommendations for projects to move each business forward. HNB entrepreneurs receive a grant to implement the student’s recommendations through the Steven N. Frank Family Award Fund.

Business Model Course

In partnership with the Center for Entrepreneurship, CCE Program Manager Hayley Johnston taught the Business Model Canvas course to six HNB entrepreneurs during the fall of 2023. The course will continue to be offered in 2024 for HNB entrepreneurs. Completing the course and joining a mentor forum allows entrepreneurs to access the executive participation level benefits of the HNB program.

Global Grad Scholars Online Course Development

Graduate students in the Global Grad Scholars program have completed an online Business Model Canvas course developed for HNB entrepreneurs in collaboration with Abhimanyu Gupta, Ph.D. in the Emerson Leadership Institute. The course was completed in December 2023.

Student Support 

Six undergraduate Service Leadership business students and one graduate business student assisted the HNB program staff and the HNB entrepreneurs in 2023. The students assisted with newsletters, surveys, projects for the HNB entrepreneurs, and organized the HNB Mentor Forums and contacted the speakers invited to meet with the entrepreneurs.

Overall in 2023, 31 undergraduate and graduate business students provided service to the Habitat for Neighborhood Business program. 

Learn More About HNB