Inside of One World Projects Inc., a unique boutique in Batavia's Harvester Center.
Submitted photo and press release:
The Genesee Community College Business Department and Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) Club are excited to announce a new initiative taking the student hands-on learning experience to the next level with the introduction of the "Adopt-A-Business" program.
The first business to be adopted by the college has been selected -- congratulations, One World Projects Inc.!
Founded by computer programmer turned environmental activist, Phil Smith, in 1992, the originating purpose of One World Projects (OWP) was to conserve paper use and preserve rainforests. However, as he worked to preserve the rainforests, Smith realized the most significant impact his project was having on the lives of the artisans he was working with.
Thus, OWP began initiating income-generating projects to benefit the artisans and their communities. Inspired to contribute to the peace-building efforts in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Smith began to seek out income-generating projects focused in areas of conflict.
As a result, OWP now works with artists in Afghanistan, Colombia, Ayacucho, Peru and Burmese refugee camps and other war-torn areas. It is Smith's belief that new economic opportunities and chances for personal development and growth will foster an environment of hope and peace.
Today, OWP is a unique boutique, located at 56 Harvester Ave. in Batavia, carrying an array of goods from apparel to crafting supplies, from garden and home décor to gifts for pets and more. Their focus continues to be establishing and maintaining viable economic support for artisans who create these goods with fair wages and the chance to improve their lives and in turn, their communities.
For GCC's business students and CEO club members, the adoption of OWP means an opportunity to take an inside look at a real, operating business and working with the owners and management to tackle challenges facing businesses today. Students are examining OWP's store and helping to design window displays to promote holiday shopping, as well as evaluating and recommending updates to exterior signage, and helping boost OWP's social media presence.
OWP's importation of goods frequently involves some assembly and packaging work. In an effort to expose business students to the tasks often associated with running one's own business, students will take part in the assembly of 9,500 necklaces imported from Latin America during a workshop in December.
"The Adopt-A-Business program is a very real way for our students to draw from concepts introduced in the classroom to solve real business challenges," said Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., director of GCC's Business Programs.
"The program grants students a unique opportunity to see what it is like to own and operate a business. They will be expected to evaluate multiple aspects of operations and to develop recommendations for solutions and examine and project the impact of those recommendations."
OWP is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and also open by special appointment by calling (585) 343-4490 or emailing [email protected]. They will also be visiting the GCC Batavia Campus for holiday shopping opportunities.