Economic Change through Business Education and Micro-lending

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At the end of 2009, we sponsored an entrepreneurship competion for the middle school students (grades 7-9). These 50 plus students had been through our BizWorld program for the past 6 years. It was fun with a purpose - and it was about to pay off!

The students formed six business teams. Each team had to create a business plan and present their ideas to a panel of judges. The winning team would receive the funds to put their business... well... into business. The teams had to conceptualize a business they thought would do well in the village. They had to do market research, a cost analysis, devise an implementation and marketing plan, and strategize for the business's growth. We were very impressed with the ideas the teams came up with! The winning team had thought of a used clothing business, something very practical for their village. We sent them the funds to begin their business and they are now up and running! Some of the other teams' businesses are being further developed before launching.

Julio

Julio is one of the village middle school students. He is 15 years old and has been attending school at night because he has been working to help support his family. In 2008, our team gave Julio a micro-loan to start his own agricultural business. He was so successful that he paid back his loan in one season and in 2009 took out another mico-loan to expand his business. Julio, who learned about business through our BizWorld program, is now one of the the most successful businessmen in the village. And he continues to attend school!

Another ground breaking business we supported with a micro-loan was a farming co-op. This was the first business to sell their product outside the village. Five families joined resources and planted several different crops each year, which is a departure from one family growing only one crop each year. The new system helped the families diversify their crops and grow enough of each to sell in a market outside their village.

Other businesses we have helped establish are a seamstress shop, pharmacy, chicken farm for eggs, bicycle repair shop, furniture making and repair shop, and so many more!
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'Paca' - used clothing business: a modest beginning...but a beginning with room for growth
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Julio - the night student helping to support 7 brothers and sisters
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Julio a year later - one of the most successful farmers in the village
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One of the seamstresses at work
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You can see why this pharmacy needed a micro-loan to help them expand their business