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Students aim for $1 million fund for small business hurricane aid

Students in a graduate business planning class at San Diego State University have put together a plan to turn $25,000 in seed money donated by their professor into $1 million in order to assist small business owners affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Dubbed the Katrina Aid & Relief Effort (KARE), the fund will provide grants for expenses not covered by insurance to expedite the process of getting as many businesses as possible operating again. Through KARE, the students are committed to restoring dignity and self-reliance by providing humanitarian aid, hope and renewal for the small businesses of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

All funds raised will support the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund, which was set up by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) with the assistance of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF). Recipients of the grants will be determined by an objective panel that is already receiving 100-150 applications from businesses per day.

KARE was conceived during the first class meeting of Cunningham’s business planning course. Cunningham challenged his class to come up with ideas on how the business students could use their talents and resources in a way, which could aid those affected by Katrina. Cunningham backed up the challenge with a $25,000 grant to be used as seed money on the condition that the class comes up with a viable plan to turn that $25,000 into $1,000,000 by year’s end.

The students plan on achieving their goal by reaching out to San Diego’s business community and SDSU’s College of Business Administration alumni, students, staff and faculty.

Fundraising events begin Monday October 3 and run through December 31.

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