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Working Cooperatively

First, the Williams College of Business selected the housing assistance agency, People Working Cooperatively, as one of eight winners in its first Xavier Launch-A-Business competition in 2010.

Then in October, the agency selected Xavier to receive its annual Chairman’s Award, which is given only to those whose work helps to support its mission.

“The award is significant,” says Joe Carter, visiting professor in the Williams College of Business and director of the X-LAB competition.

“Most all of the businesses we selected are for-profit businesses. We want to attract more nonprofits, so it’s good for us to be recognized for the work we’ve done to help them.”

The X-LAB competition rewards entrepreneurial business ideas by providing support, guidance and networking to help them get launched. Xavier liked the agency’s proposal to create a fee-for-service program that offered its home repair services to the general public to generate revenue for its nonprofit work modifying the homes of low-income people. The new service, called Whole Home, launches this spring.

Jock Pitts, president of PWC, says the service fills a niche for home modification to fit the elderly or disabled homeowner’s needs. The agency developed and implemented its plan with support from Xavier faculty members, alumni, graduate and undergraduate students.

But the agency also noted that it collaborates with Xavier’s Department of Occupational Therapy and the Community Building Institute.

“A lot of things are coming to pass because of the X-LAB venture,” Pitts says. “I see a wonderful future working with Xavier.”

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