A Binghamton University doctorate student is shedding light on ways small businesses can make a big impact around the world.

Justine Lewis was the featured speaker Tuesday at Binghamton’s Noon Rotary.

Lewis grew up in our area and worked in Washington DC for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The federally funded program offers grants for small businesses in the U.S. to help solve global issues such as extreme poverty.

Lewis says she was working for the organization during the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014.

She says USAID brought people together to keep the disease out of our country.
“By partnering with a range of actors, including local businesses, it helped to stop the outbreak in West Africa as well as it from spreading to American shores.  There’s the national security interest that’s important, but also by partnering with federal agencies, it can bring revenue streams to the local area to create jobs,” said Lewis.

For example, one small business owner helped develop an Ebola safety suit to protect physicians from getting infected.

Other efforts include protecting of human rights, improving global health, environmental sustainability and education.