W-GDP: Developing Women Entrepreneurs - Yes They Can!

  • Women's Global Development & Prosperity
  • Community Growth
  • Business
  • Peru
This project is led by Nicholas Kim, a Volunteer from New Jersey

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This project seeks to empower young women in both entrepreneurship and leadership abilities. In rural and low income communities, it is especially difficult for young women to reach their full potential due to limited economic opportunities and present social stereotypes. Entrepreneurship will allow these students to have a brighter future after graduation with more opportunities to not only achieve financial independence, but also to assume an active role in society. There are currently 112 young women enrolled in 4th and 5th grade at the local high school which specializes in confections and clothing/textiles. With modern machinery and equipment proposed in this project, students will improve their technical skills with knowledge of current technologies and therefore more employment opportunities. Moreover, this project has goals of not only promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship in students, but also in the community. Every year, after the completion of an entrepreneurship course, the school will organize an internal competition where students must demonstrate their innovative projects that were designed during the course. The idea is to invite members of the community as judges, who will not only judge, but also be able to speak on the importance of female entrepreneurs. Finally, to put into practice the entrepreneurship skills acquired in the classroom, the local municipality will grant the three winning groups of the competition a stand in the market for a month.

The community has demonstrated enthusiasm to promote the realization of this project. Currently, there are two institutions involved in the execution, whose members have been supportive throughout the process. First, the high school is composed of 375 female students and 65 teachers. Of which 10 teachers are dedicated exclusively to the area of ​​Education for Work, which are taught with a workday of 8 pedagogical hours where students are prepared in the process of acquiring technical skills to enter the workforce. This institution actually acquired this year the denomination of a "Technical Institution." Hence a majority of the classwork and activities are focused on the development of this specific area of "Education for Work". Second, the municipality and the Office of Economic and Social Development are willing to provide support in giving opportunities to students, who can use their new entrepreneurial skills acquired in class to a real situation, providing a license to have a stand in the local markets and sell their finished products in the biweekly fair. Finally, what role does the general population have? In our community, there are over a thousand small businesses licensed by the municipality. Everyone has had many challenges to be entrepreneurs and they have something to share with the students. During the day of presentation of the product that the young women will develop, our idea is to invite some entrepreneurs within the community to not only judge, but also present and share experiences with the goal of fostering an entrepreneurial culture.

Something very important to remember is the fact that most of the funds requested are fixed costs in the form of equipment which will serve to benefit the various generations of students who pass through the classrooms. With this equipment, young women will learn in their entrepreneurship classes the importance of having competitive advantages in the different products they produce. Also with modern equipment, they have the opportunity to learn more and be competitive in the workforce.These skills will continue to serve students throughout their lives. Although the Peace Corps volunteer is not always going to be in school, the project proposes that 100% of teachers in the "Education for Work" area to be trained in youth entrepreneurship. At least one of the tenured teachers will continue to teach other teachers for years to come. The municipality also has the commitment to continue with the project since this activity will take place annually. The best entrepreneurial ideas from the competition will be awarded stands to sell their innovative products. The idea is that the relationship between school and municipality is maintained in order to continue the work being done each year.

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