Creative Micro-Businesses

Year: 2009
Country: El Salvador
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Education
Project Investment: $500.00

Project Launch:

According to a 2005 study conducted by the El Salvadoran Ministry of Youth, 35% of Salvadoran youth finish high school, 10% go on to University, and only 1% actually graduate from University. Without formal education, youth are greatly limited in their ability to find work outside the home and a path out of poverty. A $495 grant was awarded by World Connect’s Kids to Kids program in 2009 to hold an educational seminar on income generation. A fun, interactive, hands-on and creative business course took place over the course of three months, during which participating youth completed at least seventy hours of learning time. The course was taught by a Peace Corps Volunteer. Students were encouraged to think about where they saw themselves in 5 and 10 years, they created resumes, participated in mock interviews, learned the basics about the importance of creativity in business, took a field-trip to a bank where they learned about checking and saving accounts, loans and interest, and the basics of the services banks provide. Students also learned the basics of starting and running their own micro-businesses, positions and functions in a board of directors, cost-benefit analyses, decision making, building budgets, market studies, customer service, accounting, bookkeeping, quality control, and the principles of supply and demand. Students then developed mock businesses and at the end of the course presented their businesses before a panel of judges. Their businesses were judged on the creativity of their product, how they marketed their product, the appropriateness of the pricing of their product, and teamwork. Community members found this program extremely valuable and useful, because, much as all the kids want to become professionals, some families don’t have the resources to send their children to college. This program provided a head-start in managing money and finding ways to earn a living. Parents reported that this programming influenced their children to behave better at home and be more motivated for school. Many students substantially developed their leadership skills from this project and all of them learned how to present themselves through the interviews and resumes.

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