Volunteering to Get Student Debt Down to ‘Zero’

We’re highlighting small businesses from around the country as nominated by you, our readers. If your favorite small business is using Twitter to communicate with customers, let us know about it @fbsmallbiz with the hashtag #mysbc, and it may be featured as an upcoming Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Spotlight: Zero Bound

Who: Co-founder Sabrina Norrie, @_zerobound, 29

What: A social entrepreneurism startup that aims to reduce student loan debt through volunteerism

Where: NYC and Northern N.J.

When: 2011

How: Norrie’s career in social services, first as a policy analyst and more recently as a community resource specialist, got her thinking about the massive amounts of student debt so many educated people find themselves strapped with.

“The more I am hearing about stories of millions of young professionals that are carrying this debt I thought, ‘there has to be a way to get creative about this issue,’” Norrie said. “We turn that debt into an opportunity, and get out into the community.”

Today the company is working on its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com, in  order to raise seed money to get off the ground.

Zero Bound works by having students and alumni receive student loan donations in exchange for sponsored volunteerism. Participants receive donations the same way one would for a marathon, she said. Donors determine how much they want to contribute to the recipient per hour, and for how many hours. The platform accepts those donations once volunteering has been completed, and pays them directly to the loan company.

Quote from the owner: “We like to say we are paying it down by paying it forward,” Norrie said.