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Entrepreneurship Exchange Programme : Butler University’s Lacy School of Business MBA Students Visit 22 On Sloane

Mahlatse Tolamo-02

Mahlatse Tolamo | June 9, 2023

Experiential learning is a well-known phenomenon in MBA programmes globally as it is a way for students to understand the complexity of the business world as opposed to just classroom learning.

Real-world application further allows students to better grasp concepts, theories, models, strategies, and processes. Most importantly, experiential learning focuses and encourages collaboration, reflection, and creativity.  

We were afforded the opportunity to host 21 delegates from the Indiana State in the United States of America (USA) who were part of Butler University’s Lacy School of Business MBA’s experiential learning. The delegates comprised of people from various organizations in the Indiana ecosystem which are: 


  • Indiana Economic Development Corporation – aimed at growing the state economy, driving economic development, and helping businesses launch and grow and locate in the state.  
  • Indy Chamber – creates a supportive environment for businesses through advocacy, networking, and economic development initiatives.  
  • 16 Tech Innovation District – an innovation ecosystem aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs, academics, startups, corporations, and community members in a single place dedicated to collaboration and creative problem solving.  


Indiana was featured in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) as part of the Top 15 North American ecosystem with affordable talent and was named the’ Best State to Start a Business’. This is due to their low tax rates, reasonable cost of living and talented work force. Furthermore, businesses that relocate to the state are given tax credits such as the Headquarters Relocation Tax Credit and business that create new jobs that improve the standard of living for Indiana residents are given Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit.  

It was interesting to learn that Indiana’s black population is approximately 17% of the Indianapolis metro population and black businesses are only 2.4% of the metro’s 34 thousand employer businesses. Another big challenge for startups and growing black business enterprises is gaining access to adequate capital and access to markets, much like issues faced by South Africa’s black business owners.  


In light of this, the Business Equity for Indy (BEI) was formed to help businesses act and advance racial equity. BEI has a procurement roundtable which is a catalyst to launch and grow black business enterprises through expanded procurement opportunities. This is similar to South Africa’s Enterprise Development Programme aimed at making sure that corporations procure their goods and services from black-owned and managed businesses. Furthermore, Enterprise Development seeks to assist these companies to grow their business so that they can play a meaningful role in the economy.  


To ensure that value and impact is derived from this experiential learning, we invited our startups to participate in the peer-to-peer mentorship session where the MBA students where matched with our startups based on their expertise and current MBA dissertation topics. This was a valuable experience for our startups as it validated some of the work they have been doing and received valuable insights from the students.  


This was definitely a great opportunity for us to learn how we can enhance our programmes and possibly collaborate with Butler University’s Lacy School of Business.  


Mahlatse Tolamo, Stakeholder Relations Manager at 22 On Sloane


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