Entrepreneurship & Business Management Specialist
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• Coaching teachers on a weekly basis and assisting in public high school classrooms
• Instructing teachers in the practical elements of a business plan and cooperatively designing interactive-dynamic classes to teach students and guide them through writing a business plan and starting a business
• Facilitating teacher-training workshops on the entrepreneurship curriculum
• Training and advising entrepreneurs and small business owners in business planning, marketing, customer service, and financial management
• Working with community members on financial literacy topics such as budgeting, encouraging savings, and managing debt
Recognizing that small businesses form an integral part of the nation’s economy, and in light of globalization and various trade agreements, the Entrepreneurship Education Project (EEP) in Nicaragua will continue helping interested micro-business owners and entrepreneurs improve productivity and competitiveness. Volunteers do this by motivating, inspiring, and assisting them in the development of their business strategies as well as the application of sound business planning and management techniques. The project will provide current and prospective small business owners and entrepreneurs the knowledge and skills needed to take advantage of economic opportunities, secure employment, and generate income. The focus of the Volunteer’s work will be transmitting knowledge and developing the abilities and skills of teachers, students, business people, and community groups wanting to improve their quality of life through the promotion of sustainable economic activities.
Entrepreneurship Educators find some of their most rewarding experiences to be the business plan competitions where they see the fruit of their work through their students’ engagement and excitement about creating their small businesses and developing career goals for the future.
• MBA, MA/MS in Business Administration, Public Administration, Management, Accounting, Banking or Finance
All candidates must have an interest in and ability to co-plan and co-teach a high school entrepreneurship course with Nicaraguan teachers who have no prior business training.
• Design and delivery of business development and planning themes and/or non-formal education
• Initiative and demonstrated competence to work in unstructured and unpredictable environment
• Multi-tasking and good time management skills
• Event planning and organization skills
• Ability to identify and establish relationships with micro and small business owners to coach them on basic business practices, such as the use of cash flow statements, and marketing strategies
Required Language Skills
A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish
Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).
All of your work as a Volunteer will be conducted in Spanish, and you will communicate with your host family, fellow community members, and government and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) representatives in Spanish; therefore, all Volunteers must demonstrate at least intermediate mid-level written and oral proficiency in Spanish prior to the completion of the 12-week Pre-Service Training.
Nicaragua is predominantly rural, its countryside dotted with medium-sized cities and small agricultural communities. Business & Entrepreneurship Educators tend to live in small towns (5,000-15,000 people) to medium sized towns (15,000+ people) and commute to smaller rural communities for work at times. Geography of volunteer sites vary in terrain ranging from ocean side to lush green tropical lowlands to mountainous pine forests. You will find that one the most gratifying experiences for Volunteers is the diversity of the country in both culture and geography. Depending on your site, you can find yourself interacting with either people of rich Caribbean heritage, others of more countryside traditional living, or indigenous descent.
A variety of groceries are available in larger cities and the capital, but some Entrepreneurship Education Volunteers live in smaller sites where fresh vegetables are not easy to find, and variety is very limited (usually carrots, tomatoes, onions and cabbage). Vegetarian diets can be challenging but possible, given flexibility to eating dishes that contain animal fats or broths. However, Volunteers find that the Nicaraguan staple foods of gallo pinto (red beans and rice), corn tortillas, bread, freshly made cheeses, and widely available seasonal tropical fruits provide a great dietary base. Some volunteers find the diet to be very carbohydrate heavy and that most foods are cooked with more vegetable oil than they are accustomed to so they enjoying working with their host families on how to improve their nutrition through increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.
Entrepreneurship Education Volunteers will work with extremely limited teaching resources in public schools (no textbooks, no chalk or teaching supplies). You will be responsible for purchasing colored markers, colored pencils, and white board markers for your classes. Creativity and initiative is needed to improve teaching conditions. On average, Volunteers work with four teachers (in some cases you may have more or less) and often travel to schools in other communities. You can use public transportation to get to the majority of your schools, but in some cases you may need to walk or bike several miles round trip to the outlying schools.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Nicaragua: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
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During training, individuals will live apart from one another in separate host families and will most likely also be living in separate, but neighboring communities. Training sites are close and couples have opportunities to see each other 1-2 times a week and can spend most weekends together with one family or the other. Please ensure both you and your partner are truly committed to fulfill your assigned project goals during 27 months of service.
Couples will live together during the two years of service with the same host family. They may be separated for workshops and conferences for up to two weeks at a time due to in-service training events.
Medical Considerations in Nicaragua
- Nicaragua may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ongoing counseling.
- The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
- After arrival in Nicaragua, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.
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