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WSB Represents UW-Madison in New Partnership with Clinton Global Initiative

By Clare Becker

December 10, 2018

The Wisconsin School of Business is the campus liaison for a new partnership between the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U).

This is the first year of membership in the partnership for UW–Madison. Founded in 2007 by former president Bill Clinton, CGI U is modeled after the Clinton Global Initiative and serves to “engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world,” according to the organization’s website. Students choose their own “Commitments to Action” that will better their campus, local, and global communities.

Alumnus Shawn Michels (BBA ’18), a graduate of the Integrated Master of Accountancy program, and UW–Madison students Caroline Matkom and Aaron Olson were selected by CGI U to take part in the 11th annual CGI U meeting held at the University of Chicago. Both Michels and Olson are alumni of the WSB Business Plan Competition. All three UW–Madison participants received $3,000 to support their social enterprise projects.

During the three-day meeting, students had the opportunity to participate in working sessions, attend presentations and expert panels, and network with other attendees and industry professionals.

Headshot of John Surdyk
INSITE Director John Surdyk

John Surdyk, director of the Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship (INSITE) and a faculty associate in the Department of Management and Human Resources at WSB, attended the event with the students.

“The CGI U program and conference are tremendously valuable because they challenge our students to consider how they can bring their creativity and entrepreneurial savvy to bear on some of the world’s most intractable problems,” Surdyk says. “The potent combination of CGI U’s global mentorship network and the university’s ‘seed’ investment help students to develop and de-risk new programs and business models as they strive to address social challenges.”

The students’ Commitments to Action are:

  • Shawn Michels is developing a device to make insulin injections easier for Type II diabetes patients.
  • Caroline Matkom is helping young women in Malawi gain wider access to education.
  • Aaron Olson is a co-founder of NovoMoto, a social enterprise making solar energy more affordable to communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.