Business & Small Enterprise


By popular demand.  Over the past 30 years, extreme poverty has been cut in half due not only our efforts, but because of governments around the world embracing markets.  We will investigate how enterprise solutions to poverty can be the most sustaining and effective programs for our beneficiaries. 

This track will include four 75-minute break-out sessions examining one facet of the Business and Small Enterprise Solutions.  


Session 1: Business and Alleviating Poverty/Doing Both Faithfully

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Jesse Casler, HOPE Intl.

Jesse has been with HOPE since 2004. He has a B.A. from Eastern Nazarene College and both an M.A. and an MBA from Boston University. The field of microfinance falls at the intersection of these degrees, combining Jesse’s heart for developing countries and his business expertise. Prior to and during his graduate work, Jesse gained experience in international banking at State Street Corporation’s international headquarters in Massachusetts and later at a subsidiary of Advent Software. He has traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America working in the finance, accounting, operations, and administration teams while at HOPE. He has served as a church board member and treasurer and is deeply committed to HOPE’s Christian mission. Jesse and his wife, Krista, live in Lancaster, PA, with their two sons.


Session 2: The Missing Link: Developing Entrepreneurial Capacity

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Roxanne Addink deGraaf, Partners Worldwide

Roxanne Addink de Graaf is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Partners Worldwide, with a passion for her organization’s vision of a world without poverty where all have life and have it abundantly. She also occasionally steps in as an adjunct professor at Eastern University’s MBA program and served as an editor for the BAM Think Tank paper on BAM at the Base of the Pyramid. Roxanne thrives on creativity and loves to be part of unleashing the innovation and reconciling impact of faithful entrepreneurs around the globe.

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Roland Hoksbergen, Calvin College

Prof. Hoksbergen received a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Notre Dame (1986). His academic fields include economics, economic development and economic methodology. Prof. Hoksbergen's current research interests include the role of civil society in Third World development and strengthening partnership networks among non-government organizations. Professor Hoksbergen also serves as director of the International Development Studies program. Prior to coming to Calvin College, Prof. Hoksbergen worked for the Christian Reformed Church World Relief Committee.


Session 3: The Challenges and Consequences of Good Intentions

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Johanna Ryan, VisionFund

Johanna Ryan is Global Director of Impact for VisionFund International, based in London. As the microfinance arm of World Vision, VisionFund is focused on improving the lives of children in rural areas of 28 countries. The core expertise of VisionFund is financial services for small farmers and other micro and small businesses. Working with World Vision and other partners, VisionFund helps to build economic productivity so that parents and carers can pay for education, nutritious food, and all that children need to reach their potential. VisionFund seeks complementary interventions from partners that, alongside stable livelihoods, can bring lasting transformation to rural communities.

As head of Impact, Johanna oversees analysis and evaluations to identify links between VisionFund’s work and actual changes to the well-being of individual clients and children.

Prior to VisionFund, Johanna spent 18 years managing global commercial banking relationships, most recently with JPMorgan. She completed high school in Winston Salem (Salem Academy); did her BA at the University of South Carolina (Coastal Carolina); and competed a Master’s of Philosophy at Oxford University (Hertford College). This is her first visit to North Carolina for a very long time.


Session 4: Business and Entrepreneurship Panel

A Summary Panel of all the above presenters in one setting.

Panel Moderator: JoAnn Flett, Eastern University

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JoAnn Flett is a Program Director of the MBA in Social Impact and Senior Lecturer in Management at Eastern University. JoAnn’s research examines the role of business in society. Business is a dominant social institution of influence and power in our world. Therefore, business that combines social mission and market activities to bring about societal change for ‘people at the base of the pyramid’ (BoP) is a form of business to explore. The fact that the BoP population is mostly to be found in developing countries only resonates with her Caribbean heritage.

Ms. Flett currently serves on the Board of Directors for three organizations: Capital for Good, an organization dedicated to providing resources to collaborators working in health, education, anti-human trafficking, and economic & gender empowerment. Broad Street Ministry—a non-profit dedicated to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable Philadelphians. The Accord Network a member agency for 90+ international development agencies. She also serves in an advisory capacity for Initiate Australia and Everence Financial in Philadelphia. JoAnn has been married for 28 years to Eric Flett (he is a member of Eastern University’s faculty/theology), and the couple has two sons Miles 22, and Elliot, 19.


Session 5: Water Pricing: Balancing Affordability and Sustainability for the Bottom Billion

Charging for water is essential to ensuring that water systems provide service for many years after installation. However, what is a fair (yet viable) price when serving the majority world where incomes range from $60-$150/month?

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Mike Staub, Water Mission

Mike Staub serves as the Social Enterprise Coordinator for Water Mission, where he leads the organization’s strategies to advance the financial sustainability of its projects around the world. His work at Water Mission allows Mike to draw on his background in chemical engineering and business management, along with 10 years of advocating for safe water through volunteer roles with different organizations. Mike has previously presented at the UNC Water and Health Conference, sharing the findings of more than 1,500 months of financial data from the organization’s safe water projects.

Prior to this, Mike worked in market development and technical sales for Linde, one of the largest industrial gas companies in the world. Even during this time, he spent his free time studying economic development theories as well as the integration of faith and business. He received his MBA in Economic Development from Eastern University and his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Penn State.