USD Center for Community Service-Learning

The San Diego Microenterprise Project (SDMP)

The goal of the SDMP is to promote economic recovery, encourage experiential learning, and support community development.

What is microfinance?
Microfinance is the practice of extending small loans to individual borrowers who have been traditionally denied access to credit. Over the past decade, microfinance has become one of the most popular anti-poverty strategies in the world. Microlenders help low-income individuals start or expand businesses.

When people can’t find work, they create tiny business or “microenteprises” to support their families. Microenterprise businesses can include making jewelry, selling clothes, or making food.Yet with little or no capital to grow their businesses, the entrepreneurial poor remain trapped in a cycle of poverty. To keep their businesses open, many borrow from loan sharks or pay higher prices to get goods on credit. What they need to break free is access to financial services, which is where microfinance comes into play. Microfinance offers an alternative to loan sharks by providing loans with low interest rates. Many microfinance lenders also provide loan recipients with a network of support to help them successfully grow their business.

Funding to the University of San Diego from California Campus Compact
Social Innovation Generation is California Campus Compact’s three-year initiative funded through Learn and Serve America Higher Education. This initiative will catalyze and mobilize California colleges and universities to aid in the state’s recovery and renewal through service, service-learning and inventive solutions embedded in social entrepreneurship, microfinance and social investment. Grant funds cover the operational costs of this program and are not used for loans.


USD Changemaker Hub

USD’s designation as a Changemaker campus by Ashoka U is a credit to the important work on social change that USD students, faculty and staff have been doing for years. Being recognized as a Changemaker campus is an opportunity to be part of a large network of people dedicated to change making. It is an invitation to think collectively about how to develop effective institutional mechanisms, garner resources, and promote the best environment for research, teaching, and service that has changemaking for building more sustainable and socially just societies as its core.

The possibilities of what we can do are many. Ideas abound. With this in mind we ask you to share your ideas and let us know the role that you would like to play in the development of a USD Changemaker Hub. For more information please contact Patricia Marquez at or Chris Nayve at