University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Sales for Social Impact (SSI) Program


Acara and 3M developed the Sales for Social Impact (SSI) program to connect students with social ventures in need of marketing assistance. Many social ventures have a product or service to serve their market but struggle to sell it. This is very common because most such enterprises are underfunded and understaffed, and they work on challenging problems.

SSI provides needed assistance to these social ventures while giving the students a real-life opportunity to learn about the sales role in a social venture’s business (often a non-profit).  SSI touches on many different areas of sales and marketing and culminates in a formal sales plan. By the end of the course, participants have formulated original research questions, generated new market research, and used that information to create a sales plan for a real product—a sales plan that put into use by the non-profit.

This program was conducted in Fall 2010 with seven U.S. universities and Makerere University in Uganda in collaboration with a Minnesota-based nonprofit Compatible Technology International (CTI). The focus of the SSI ’10 was to develop a feasible and sustainable business model for selling Compatible Technology International’s product – a grinder, in Uganda, an economically disadvantaged area.

Top Sales Plans

SSI’10 Top 3 Sales Plans

The Ewing III Sales Plan (pdf)
Houston University

Minnesota Daily Grind Ewing III Grinder (pdf)
St. Catherine University

Participating Universities

Participating Universities

    • Baylor University
    • DePaul University
    • Indiana University
    • Houston University
    • North Carolina A&T University
    • Southern University
    • St. Catherine University
    • Makerere University-Uganda


Acara is the impact entrepreneurship program of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering and the Carlson School of Management.