MOBI Chairman Phil Holland signing certificates of completion
MOBI’s longevity of 25 years can perhaps be attributed to a genuine concern for economic and social stability in communities and for the innovative entrepreneurs of tomorrow. After witnessing the distressing 1992 Los Angeles riots, founders Phil and Peggy Holland felt compelled to provide the necessary education for aspiring entrepreneurs who lacked the proper resources to contribute to their own disadvantaged communities. As a response to the evident needs of local small business owners, the Hollands decided to teach entrepreneurship classes at The Regional Job Training Center in South Central Los Angeles, one of the affected communities. Drawing from Phil Holland’s experiences as the founder of the successful Yum Yum Donut Shops chain and Peggy Holland’s 20 years of experience as an educator and school administrator, the curriculum provided wisdom as to how to handle the challenges of starting a business and inspiration to remain steadfast to their work.
Having developed and maintained MOBI, Phil and Peggy continue to devote their lives to the nourishment of small businesses and the education of entrepreneurs. Three years ago, they bestowed their program with a $17.5 million endowment to Santa Clara University, a Jesuit institution that is also dedicated to preparing students “to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world”. The Hollands’ intention to help its pupils strengthen communities truly aligns with the University's mission. Operating at Santa Clara University has proved to be a successful succession as it sustains MOBI’s original intentions while leveraging the expertise of the university’s staff and faculty to expand and improve offerings.
MOBI has become more far reaching than ever as it now includes an online graded Spanish version of its free certificate course, increasing accessibility in Spanish-speaking geographies as well as the thriving Hispanic community in the United States. Around 35 percent of MOBI students live outside the U.S., which only goes to show the far-reaching appeal of the program. Throughout its history, MOBI has formed partnerships to help facilitate its contribution to small business owners, and now includes many colleges that have incorporated the MOBI curriculum in their classes to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. Sam Houston State University in Texas, for example, has used MOBI’s curriculum in a required class for their undergraduate business students, while St. Aloysius College in Mangalore, India has used MOBI in their MBA and MCA curriculum for the past 2 years.
Despite the program’s expansion, the core values of its founders remain the fundamental driver for its endeavors. This year marks the 25th anniversary of MOBI, but it also marks the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots, an event that, although tragic, became an instigator for change and the search for solutions. In the same way, MOBI has become a key component of that change. The curriculum itself has proven that it not only motivates new entrepreneurs, but it also provides the necessary tools in a professional way with a comprehensive curriculum. The future seems to guarantee a continuation of the Holland’s efforts to create a better landscape for small businesses and for the communities that surround them.
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