MSU Small Business and Non-profit Clinic receives inclusive excellence grant

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By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Law Small Business and Nonprofit Clinic received a $35,000 Creating Inclusive Excellence (CIE) grant from MSU's Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. The CIE grants, awarded to academic and administrative units, faculty and staff, assist in the development, research and assessment of university-wide efforts to promote a university that welcomes and includes a diverse population.

The Small Business Clinic through this Community Economic Development Inclusiveness Project will offer legal assistance to local entrepreneurs with an increased outreach to the Chinese community. A recent survey conducted by the U.S.-China Creative Space, a partner in the project, showed that 69 percent of the Chinese students would like to start a business or invest in the United States.

Andre' B. Dandridge, Project Coordinator of the Project, said "The first phase is where we are connecting with nine different University units and community partners to develop a curriculum for our law students. The training will be designed to teach students "how to deal with the global economy and diverse populations." And, he noted, some of the partners will be invited to lecture or teach a class during the third phase. This phase is scheduled to be completed in mid-October.

"During the second phase, using the curriculum and the classes that we develop, we will train the students. They will have multi-cultural business training and cultural intelligence training," which will be based on the types of entrepreneurial assistance identified as needed most by the partners. Because the "focus of the grant is to go into to the Asian population, specifically the Chinese population on campus and in the community, to help serve their business and legal needs," the training will equip the students to effectively communicate with them. Phase two should be completed by January or February, 2011.

"During the third phase, now that the students are trained, they will deliver free legal business educations seminars, some of them will partner with other agencies to put on classes and seminars for the Asian population." They will instruct on starting and maintaining a small business, a non-profit organization, entering into contracts, obtaining business licenses and permits and trademark and copyright protections.

"We have a Mobil Law clinic, which is a big bus, that will go to the four corners of our campus and in different areas throughout the community to pass on information to our target audience." This phase will operate through June.

"The students participating," Dandridge said, "will be those already a part of the Small Business and Non-profit clinic. This will be an addition to their over-all experience."

Asked if language will be a problem, he noted that they were studying that issue as part of phase one planning.

Andre' Dandridge is a graduate of Michigan State University School of Law, the first year it was on Michigan State campus. "I was accepted by Detroit College of Law and am a native Detroiter." Dandridge worked as a Director of Business Development at a law firm, and worked for a non-profit. He did his undergraduate at Michigan State University

Published: Mon, Aug 15, 2011

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