Every EARTH student develops and runs their own business during their first three years at EARTH. In their first year, students must form companies with four to six other students, achieving gender and cultural diversity, and conduct and defend a feasibility study for the business that analyzes financial, social and environmental factors. Once the project is approved, the University grants the company a loan of $3,000 US.
In the second and third year, students run and maintain their business. The main tasks during this period include the production and marketing of their product. During this time students take relevant classes in accounting, project administration, marketing and product evaluation.
During the process, students are required to equally weigh the social and environmental implications with the economic prospects of starting and operating an agricultural business. To reinforce this learning process, students are charged a “green” tax based on the environmental impact of their project and are also given financial incentives when their businesses have a positive environmental impact.
In the third year, students close their business and formally evaluate its profitability and effectiveness. After repaying their loan, with interest, the group shares the profits.