22 July 2012

Young Entrepreneurs

Fundacion Paraguaya is a partner of the international education organization Junior Achievement, which works to teach entrepreneurial and business skills to youth around the world. They work throughout Paraguay and have three groups at the Agricultural School. The school focuses on creating rural entrepreneurs, not just teaching students how to be productive farmers. This sets them apart from other agriculture schools and even farmer apprenticeship programs in the United States, where the emphasis is often on production and not necessarily the  financial management of a farm. Students must create their own business with the support of Fundacion and Junior Achievement staff and volunteers.

Traditional Paraguayan dance to kick-off the event.

These three businesses had a launching ceremony last week and I was very impressed by their work! There was a Cleaning Supplies business, a Leather Craftsmanship business, and an Agricultural Cooperative. Most of the businesses have a Marketing Supervisor, Human Relations Supervisor, Financial Supervisor, and employees. Each participating student had to put in an initial investment, and then decisions were made based on these investments. The students had to source or make their own business plan, products, and marketing materials. The launch was a great time to be able to celebrate their achievements as well as purchase some of their products. Each business was presented along with its staff and products with an informative powerpoint presentation. Junior Achievement staff, the Minister of Agriculture, and other important officials came from Asuncion for the launching.

ProLim J.A.: Cleaning Supplies Business
I love the hands-on aspect of Junior Achievement and how it gets the students actively thinking and involved in the process of starting their own successful business. Even though many of these students will not start a business, they will have the financial literacy and awareness to successfully work in many other sectors.

Ferreteria Bajo Chaco: Leather Products Business
My projects here are coming together quite nicely. I turned in two of my initial projects, the garden plan and nutritional analysis and recommendations, last week and have picked up a couple more tasks while I work on my research project for the Ambassador Corps. There is no end to the amount of small projects that must be completed in order for this school to function. At times it is overwhelming being here seven days a week, 24 hours a day and seeing just how much goes into the school. I have so much respect for all of the students and staff and their dedication.

As for me, I am looking forward to being back in the states in a few short weeks! (3.5 to be exact!) Students are coming back from vacation today after visiting family and friends and I'm ready to see mine! I plan on moving to Santa Cruz (my life-long dream, as many of you know) after spending a week or so in Olympia. My sister and I will be road-tripping down so if you live between Olympia and Santa Cruz and want us to visit you, let us know! Also if you know of any employment opportunities on the Central Coast of California, I am very interested...

Besos a todos!

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