Case study on a Newbury Park social business earns national award for CSUCI instructor and graduate student
Camarillo, Calif. — A CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) Business Lecturer and a Business graduate student are winners of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) 2017 Conference Outstanding Teaching Case Award, held in Philadelphia last month.
Instructor Maria Ballesteros-Sola, who teaches Social Business, won the national award along with 2016 graduate Jacquelyn Forrester for their work profiling the Black Sheep Food Co., a social enterprise designed to end unemployment for individuals with disabilities.
Ballesteros-Sola and Forrester wrote a teaching case study describing Black Sheep Food’s founder, Cindy Liu’s decision process to select the right legal structure. The case is called “Black Sheep Food: Choosing the Right Legal Structure for Mission-Driven Ventures.”
“I used to explain legal structures for social enterprises but students couldn’t relate to the topic. When using this case in class, Cindy’s story engages them and they connect to her process and analysis. They get it now,” Ballesteros-Sola explained.
“We have an Instructor’s Manual and the students read the Case Study,” Forrester, 24, explained. “We created a guide for what the class can discuss after the students read about the case. It can be used for a course on nonprofits, social business or a course involving disabilities, for example.”
Black Sheep Food Co. is still being developed by Newbury Park entrepreneur Cindy Liu, who plans to employ people with disabilities to make non-perishable food that customers can purchase either over the internet or from a store.
“My dream location is to have a bricks-and-mortar space where we can manufacture products and do some packaging,” Liu said. “There would be a window into the commercial kitchen where people can see our employees working, and a tasting room in front.”
Ballesteros-Sola and Forrester also liked Liu’s personal story. Liu and her husband’s first child, Samantha, now 5, was born with Down syndrome. Looking ahead to her daughter’s future, Liu developed a passion to help those with disabilities, whose unemployment rate is about 60 to 70 percent, she said.
Liu, who plans to launch her company in late 2017, is a community partner with the California Institute for Social Business (CISB) at CSUCI.