Business School, Student Band Partner to Aid Micronesian Islands

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The Coyote Bandits, left to right, are Scott Wilson, Sterling Spence, Jaylene Chung, Doug Stowers, Michael Aguirre and Christian Liang.

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It began as an entrepreneurship class assignment in La Sierra University’s Zapara School of Business — develop a viable venture and demonstrate market acceptance through social media.

Business management and religious studies major Sterling Spence, a member of the business school’s “Principals of Entrepreneurship” class, settled on a path of launching a social venture. Spence, a member of music band The Coyote Bandits, devised a business plan for a band tour that will ultimately become a vehicle for bettering the lives of thousands of impoverished residents of Micronesia, an area of 3,000 or so islands in the South Pacific. His business plan and YouTube ‘elevator pitch’ video, made with the help of friends, earned him an A in the class and the support of the business school.

The group is comprised of six current and former La Sierra University students. Spence’s business plan calls for the group to produce a summer West Coast tour, the Wayfarer Tour, to raise $100,000 for Canvasback Missions Inc. in Benicia, Calif. Established by Spence’s parents 32 years ago, Canvasback Missions provides free medical and dental services, diabetes and nutrition programs and other aid to residents of the tiny islands of the Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The Bandits kicked off the tour with an appearance June 25 on Loma Linda Broadcasting Network, then hit the road to perform through July and August, ending at La Sierra University Aug. 25. The band will perform in California, Oregon and Washington, at Redwood Camp Meeting, Soquel Camp Meeting, churches and other venues in between. A tour schedule can be accessed at www.thecoyotebandits.com.

John Thomas, dean of the business school and professor of the “Principals of Entrepreneurship” course described Spence’s approach as an “out-of-the box idea worth exploring,” Thomas said. “The business plan he wrote is realistic and viable compared to other plans that made claims that were hard to execute.

The Coyote Bandits project embodies the business school’s motto, ‘Create Value. Make a Difference,’ Thomas said. It is a university-wide ethos that has impacted Spence, his friends and many others. “La Sierra has ingrained in me that service to others is so important,” said Spence. “This whole project came through Dean Thomas’s entrepreneurship class. He’s been very supportive.”

To see Coyote Bandit's tour promotional video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni5Y0Q-7eb8.

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