UBC students become teachers at Downtown Eastside summer business school

A group of UBC students from the Sauder School of Business is heading to the Downtown Eastside this summer to teach business skills.

'There's an amazing amount of intelligence, creativity and innovation among those residents,' says instructor

A new program in the Downtown Eastside will see UBC students teach business skills this summer. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

A group of UBC students from the Sauder School of Business is heading to the Downtown Eastside this summer to teach business skills.

Part of the school's Ch'nook Indigenous Business Education program, the initiative aims to help participants develop focused business ideas.

"I think it's really important to get into that community because there's so much knowledge in the Downtown Eastside," said UBC commerce student Emily Hodgson.

Although Hodgson will technically be an instructor in the program, she says the educational benefits will go both ways.

"I can provide that textbook knowledge and the tools that I've learned in business school, but they're providing me with their real-world experiences," Hodgson told Michelle Eliot, host of CBC's The Early Edition. 

"There's an amazing amount of intelligence and creativity and innovation among those residents and they don't always get the opportunity to share that," she added.

The program debuted last year, when students took their skills into communities in northern B.C.

After its success, the school decided to try the program in an urban setting. To facilitate this, it partnered with UBC's Learning Exchange in Chinatown.

"Business is all about being able to deal with people and to adapt with what's happening around you," said Hodgson.

"I've had the privilege to immerse myself in a brand new community and to learn from people who have actually run businesses in the Downtown Eastside."

Listen to the full interview below;

A group of UBC students from the Sauder School of Business is heading to the Downtown Eastside this summer to teach business skills. 5:02

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