Many Full-time UST MBA students list owning their own business as a goal when they begin the program. Many more take entrepreneurship classes; after all, they are valuable whether you go to work for a start up, or a Fortune 500 corporation. Of those students, most plan to work a few years before taking the plunge into new venture ownership. Class of 2009 alumna Kate Herzog is one of the very few who opened a business right after earning her degree.

Her company is House of Talents, whose mission is to “alleviate poverty by connecting artisans from developing countries with consumer markets worldwide.” Kate and her House of Talents have just taken a giant step forward with the opening of a store front at 7003 Oxford Street in St. Louis Park. The store, tucked into a warehouse, is a kind of museum shop.  The space has been divided into a series of rooms, each a vignette showing the living conditions of people in various parts of the world. From an African mud hut to a dilapidated school, the space will give visitors a look into the true face of poverty. Kate’s shop is situated at the end of the series of spaces.

House of Talents’ vendors are the poorest of the poor. They rely on Kate for up-front payments to purchase the raw materials for their products. Purchasing the handicrafts will directly affect the artisans with whom she works.