Private Enterprise Solutions for Poverty
Alleviation: Approaches of the US Military

Mark Milstein

Dr. Mark Milstein is Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and a Lecturer of Strategy, Innovation and Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He oversees work at the Center focused on sustainable innovation and base of the pyramid enterprise development. Professor Milstein teaches and conducts research on strategy, decision-making, technology management and innovation. He is a member of the Management & Organization group at the Johnson School as well as the University-wide Entrepreneurship@Cornell Program. Professor Millstein’s writings have appeared in leading journals and edited books. He is an award-winning author of several populate teaching cases. Dr. Milstein has taught strategy, innovation, and sustainable enterprise to undergraduates, MBAs, and executives in the US, Latin America and Asia. He is a frequent speaker on the topics of strategy, organizational change and innovation related to business and sustainability. Dr. Milstein consults with a number of multi-national firms, small and medium sized enterprises, and NGOs, including Caterpillar, Suncor Energy, the US Army, and Schering-Plough. Dr. Milstein earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics and Japanese from the University of Michigan. He later earned both an M.B.A. in general management as well as a PhD in strategic management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

About the Project

Researchers at Cornell University, led by Professor Mark Milstein, Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson School, will explore how the US Army and Marines Corps have been approaching enterprise-based solutions to poverty in various theaters of operation – particularly within Iraq and Afghanistan. Comparing approaches undertaken by the military to those of the private sector and NGO community provides a valuable opportunity to develop better understanding of the complex relationship between entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation.

Over the past two decades, the number of humanitarian crises around the globe has increased significantly. The military’s de facto role in areas of conflict means that their approaches to seeding private enterprise at a broad level can ultimately determine the economic fate for millions. As the US military considers non-conflict based methods for fighting root causes of instability, its global impact on entrepreneurial development in poor nations is only set to expand in the years to come. Militaries everywhere have been asked to assume missions that involve considerable non-combatant activities. Often, these are taking place in geographies where legal, political, cultural, social, technical, and economic institutions are weak or non-existent. Within that vacuum, armed forces work hard to rebuild war torn nations, in part by finding innovative ways to support local entrepreneurs, small, and medium sized enterprises to establish an economic foundation which promotes hope, peace, and security for anguished populations.

Center for Sustainable Enterprise at Cornell

The Center for Sustainable Enterprise at Cornell views solutions to environmental and social problems as business opportunities, not a cost of doing business. The Center frames the solutions to these complex issues as new business growth rooted in innovation and enterprise development. They maintain a global network engaged in collaborative research and field work focused on strategy formulation and implementation in two domains: sustainable innovation and base of the pyramid enterprise development. The Center engages students and managers alike to develop a deep theoretical and practical understanding of a complex set of interrelated economic, social, and environmental issues. They focus on building the skills and capabilities needed to formulate and implement practical, operational solutions that have value in today's marketplace. Combining the business and entrepreneurship expertise of the Johnson School and the vast resources in science, technology, and the study of humanity at Cornell University, the Center is attempting to advance the global knowledge base in sustainable enterprise.

Visit the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at Cornell's website.

Entrepreneurs create products, services and jobs. They expand economies, improve people's lives, provide employment (high and rising wages) and bring about competition. A competitive environment, in turn, gives rise to efficiency, meritocracy and further innovations and entrepreneurial drive.

The potent combination of entrepreneurship and technological innovation can forge an environment that is conducive to further enterprise, involving even government policy in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.

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