Veronika Scott, a Detroit entrepreneur who developed a clever, multifunctional product that helps the homeless, and whose humanitarian organization employs them, will be speaking at The University of Findlay this month as part of the Heminger Business Ethics Lecture Series.
Scott’s free, public presentation, entitled “Can Entrepreneurs be Ethically and Socially Responsible?” will take place at noon on Friday, March 13 in Old Main’s Ritz Auditorium.
She will also be the keynote speaker at the University’s first annual Teaching Symposium to be held on March 14. The private event will provide UF educators with opportunities to share innovative and successful teaching methods with their colleagues.
Scott’s nonprofit, called The Empowerment Plan, hires mostly parents from Detroit’s shelters to be full-time seamstresses. They craft three-layered winter coats that turn into heat-trapping, waterproof sleeping bags at night, and into bags for carrying other items.
Scott’s coat idea developed from a College for Creative Studies class assignment that asked students to design something to meet a social need. She worked with the homeless to create a prototype, and kept improving upon its quality and design, with input from the homeless. Her idea led to a nonprofit business. The venture relies on monetary and coat material donations from companies such as Detroit-based Carhartt and from individuals.
The Empowerment Plan has gained national and international attention for its multifaceted, successful approach to Detroit’s homeless problem. Scott, 25, continues to be praised for not only helping those who remain homeless, but for providing jobs to homeless men and women, which allows them to regain their independence and provide for their families.
“We believe in giving second chances to those who want it, and providing warmth to those who need it,” The Empowerment Plan’s website at www.empowermentplan.org explains.
In 2012 Scott became the youngest person to receive the JFK New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. In 2011 she received the Industrial Design Society of America’s IDEA Gold Award. She was also named one of CNN’s Ten Visionary Women in 2014.
The Heminger Business Ethics Lecture series is named after the late Findlay businessman and civic leader Edwin L. Heminger. Karl Heminger, who serves on the UF Board of Trustees, and his brother, Kurt Heminger, established the Edwin L. Heminger Memorial Lectureship in Business Ethics Endowment Fund as a memorial to their father, who died in 2011.
During his long career in the news media, Edwin Heminger served as The Findlay Publishing Company’s board chairman, and was a former publisher of The Courier, where he represented the third generation to work at the newspaper. He was nationally respected for his service with newspaper associations, and he was active in the community where he served on many boards and helped found the Hancock Historical Museum. He was known for his fairness and integrity, as well as his compassion for people.
The endowment fund supports the establishment of an annual lecture, dinner and related activities that promote the teaching of good business ethics in the College of Business at The University of Findlay.