Winter 2008
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The Environment| School of Education | Noteworthy

Kate Torshi’s makeshift “restaurant” of reeds in Pantang, Ghana, is falling down. All she needs to build a sturdy structure is a $750 loan. Thanks to a new micro-financing web site,, you can lend Kate as little as $25 via PayPal within minutes of reading her story.

Later, you can keep up with her through postings from her lending partner in Ghana. In time, Kate’s business selling cassava and stew might take off, and you’ll be responsible for helping lift a family from poverty.

The idea of helping entrepreneurs who need a hand appealed to TCU’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, the student-led club within the Neeley Entrepreneurship Program. In January, TCU CEO assisted two micro-businesses in Mexico, lending $475 to shoe seller Hermelinda Lara Chávez and $275 to leather worker Roberto Badillo Mejía.

TCU CEO board member Jeff Livney knows that the Enron debacle has left people with a negative view of business. But “being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that you’re only focused on self, money and profits, or that you cheat or disregard others,” he said. “TCU CEO wants to counter that view of business. Micro-financing with is a good opportunity to engage in social entrepreneurship.”

When Chávez and Mejía repay the loans in a few months, TCU CEO plans to invest in another Kiva entrepreneur.

“Developing nations need entrepreneurs to build infrastructure,” said Livney, a freshman entrepreneurial management major who already owns two businesses himself. “With our little donation we feel that we’re helping, if only in a small way. Our lives may be very different from Hermelinda’s and Roberto’s, but we share their feeling of excitement about starting a business.” — NA

The TCU Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization is the largest student organization on campus, and the largest CEO group in the nation. Its 350 student members come from a range of majors, including business, liberal arts and the sciences.

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Neeley students with an entrepreneurial bent will soon have access to more than academic acumen and competitive prowess. They also may have access to some cheap capital to get their endeavors off the ground.

With $100,000 in funding, the new Bill Shaddock Investment Fund will enable TCU students to apply for low-interest debt capital, mezzanine financing or space at the TCU Tech Fort Worth business incubator. Selected students will be named Shaddock Entrepreneurial Fellows.

“I’m very appreciative of the education and experience that I had at TCU, and I wanted to express that appreciation in a tangible way,” said William C. “Bill” Shaddock ’73 of Plano. The Neeley alum is an attorney, founder and owner of Willow Bend Mortgage Co. and Capital Title of Texas, as well as president and partner (with older brother Peter H. Shaddock ’64) in Shaddock Development Co.

“I wanted to help the university distinguish itself in its business school,” he said. “I thought if the students can manage a portfolio of stocks [through the investment fund], then this will be something that will be very real and will be hands-on. This way they can play all the various positions relative to the capitalization and start-up of a business.”

David Minor, the William M. Dickey Entrepreneur in Residence and director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, said the fund will benefit two groups of students: those needing capital for a business, and accounting or finance majors who could help evaluate the loans.

The capital will be available to current students, likely beginning this fall. Selection criteria are still being determined, but Minor anticipates making about $20,000 in investments the first year. The number of loans depends on what applicants are seeking.

“We’re not looking to make huge investments, but for start-ups a few thousand dollars can go a long way,” he said. “We also anticipate funding working capital loans for existing businesses.” — RSM

Contact David Minor at
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