Jaime Gusching Chelsea Johnson Engineering 692
Problem Analysis Small businesses are the lifeblood of a developing country’s economy. These small businesses have many common characteristics, such as being located in rural areas, having limited access to resources, and often only employing one worker. Roughly, 90% of these small enterprises in rural areas focus on one of the following business sectors: food and beverage, textiles and clothing, and wood or forest products (Mead and Liedholm, 1998). Indeed, the main focus of the Montaña de Luz (MdL) store is food products. One of the interesting trends of small enterprises in less developed countries is that there are new ones opening constantly, providing a constant flow of competition, while others stores quickly go out of business, due to small profit margins. Therefore, it was our goal that the MdL store be successful and sustainable. The past several months, the Small Business Venture (SBV) Team of the Engineering Service Learning 692 Class at The Ohio State University gathered information to provide the groundwork for Montaña de Luz’s small business venture. To create and streamline a business plan, the SBV Team compiled the necessary data of the business climate in Nueva Esperanza, set clear objectives for the store, and identified obstacles to overcome. Additionally, the SBV Team directly impacted the children’s lives through interactive lessons on business and nutrition. There was a great opportunity to augment the MdL children’s education through entertaining activities and lesson plans covering a variety of topics from opportunity cost, supply and demand, factors of production, Microsoft Excel, how to produce a desirable product, and healthy food choices. These lessons were imperative for the health and successful transition of the children into the working world. Although time did not permit all of the lessons to be implemented, future Engineering 692 students are highly encouraged to take on the task of executing similar lesson plans. Furthermore, as pioneers in business education, the Small Business Venture team collected data on the Montaña de Luz store and documented the store’s progress thus far. After returning to Columbus, the SBV team summarized the data for future teams in the post-trip documentation.
The SBV team worked closely with a number of different professionals, including Dr. Judy Tansky and Dr. Nancy Lahmers, of the Fisher College of Business, and Erin Galloway, Dario Rubio, Lidia Romero, and Vicki Rush, Executives at MdL. The valuable input and time of these generous individuals was truly appreciated. The project planning consisted of brainstorming ideas, gathering project information from primary sources, recognizing the unaddressed needs of the children, consulting with MdL staff and experienced classmates, drafting ideas, narrowing the scope of the project, continually revising the project to improve efficiency and effectiveness, and planning for project sustainability. II. Materials Budget Approximately $60 was spent on craft supplies for the children. These included six packages of seed beads in a variety of colors, two packages of memory wire for creating bracelets, and two pairs of pliers for cutting and creating loops in the wire. The craft supplies were kept simple so even the youngest of children could create jewelry of high quality. In the pre-trip documentation, a budget was created to include the cost of posters and labels for the vegetables. The money was not spent on these because the garden was in the process of being torn down and rebuilt while we were there, and there were many nutritional posters already being utilized at MdL. III. Plans for implementation To build rapport with the children, each period of allotted time included a fun game or activity followed by an educational debriefing. The lessons built off each other day by day but unexpected schedule changes were also taken into consideration. The specific business lessons were adaptations from the following websites listed in the Part i of the Appendix. Additionally, the children were taught how to make valuable crafts for future sale in the store. Although the craft session was successful, time did not allow for improvement on the Christmas card designs as originally intended.
A list had been created as an agenda of work to be done throughout the week. Information Gathered in Honduras: • • • • • • • • IV. Found out how the garden is being cared for, and make suggestions for improvement as appropriate Created labels for the vegetables in the garden Researched prices of vegetables, chicken, and other foods being sold nearby, so that a list of prices can be created for items in the store Researched other items that can be sold in the store Determined roadblocks and obstacles to the store’s opening Gathered information on the parameters of the store, including taking notes on the freezer, storage space, shelf space, etc. Found out what valuable crafts the children can create to sell in the store Became familiar with the staff at MdL and their job duties
Plans for Sustainability Although difficult to quantify and measure, the educational aspect of our project, the business and nutrition lessons, had the longest lasting repercussions. The children gained valuable knowledge during the lesson plans, their horizons were broadened and lives improved in the long run. Additionally, the SBV team left additional lesson plans and information with the Lidia Romero, the education director. The contact information of the SBV team is another element of sustainability because MdL can continue to contact us for information to enhance the education of the children. Another way the SBV Team incorporated sustainability into their project was by creating a business plan for Dario Rubio, which provided the essential groundwork for the MdL store. Furthermore, the SBV Team attached a memo to the business plan outlining recommendations and suggestions for the short run. In the memo, the SBV team highlighted the challenges Dario Rubio faces as the project continues, specifically, the
need for a clearly defined production processes, employee training, more information on the target market, and necessary government permits. The memo in its entirety can be found in Part ii the Appendix. The SBV team also left contact information with Dario Rubio and will assist him in whatever capacity possible in the future. Lastly, the ecos4MdL wiki page, a website created to be an important resource tool for future Engineering 692 students as well as the MdL staff, also serves as a tool for sustainability. Information, photographs, and future recommendations are posted for future teams to utilize. The web address is http://ecos4mdl.pbwiki.com/
Work Agreement The work of Jaime Gusching and Chelsea Johnson intertwined seamlessly during the week in Honduras. The two took turns leading activities pertaining to their respective expertise. However, the tasks were not explicitly divided amongst team members. The educational nature of the project required the full collaboration of both team members on all aspects of implementation. Furthermore, with regards to MDL’s store, the collection and compilation of data, the documentation of progress, and the creation of an explicit business plan required both team members. A copy of the work agreement can be found on the ecos4MdL webpage.
Summary of Communication Needs On the cusp of Spanish fluency, Jaime Gusching of the SBV Team communicated and translated the lesson plans into Spanish. In addition, Lidia Romano and Dario Rubio, bilingual directors at MDL, assisted with translation during the trip. An extensive list of business and nutrition vocabulary is found in Part iii of the Appendix.
8. Business Plan Over the course of the week, the SBV team worked closely with Dario Rubio, the operations director at MDL. Upon arrival, Dario gave the SBV Team an empty business plan template that needed to be completed by the end of the week. Over the course of the week, the SBV Team completed the template with the given information. The SBV team also conducted research and gathered information to better understand the challenges and resources of the MdL store. A copy of this business plan can be obtained on the website Scribd and a link has been listed in the Appendix. 1. Market Prices Investigated The SBV team collected information on the current prices of potential store items to be sold. This was done partially through receipts kept by Dario. The SBV Team created a list of produce that can be grown in the garden of MdL. Comparable products in the market of Tegucigalpa determined the prices for store’s items. SBV team asked vendors about current prices of various produce. The MdL store will strive to maintain prices that are affordable to local customers, while ensuring that they are not so low as to undercut the competition. Additionally, it has been decided that the MdL store will not sell snack food or soda because it does not want to drive local stores out of business. A list of prices gathered is included in the Appendix. 2. Intentions of the Store Determined Before our journey to Honduras, very little was known about the intentions of the store. Currently, the people in the community surrounding MdL take an hour-long bus ride to Tegucigalpa to do their weekly grocery shopping. The MdL store hopes to provide convenience to these people by saving them time and money. Much time was spent with Dario Rubio to better understand the potential of the store. Chicken and pork are the two most widely consumed meat products, and both of these will be
sold in the MdL store. It was vital to discover that pork must be in adequate supply during the December holidays, when purchases of this product increase significantly. Vegetables including cabbage, tomatoes, beets, broccoli, and yucca can be sold in addition to fruits such as bananas and papaya by growing them in the garden on the MdL campus (Figure 4). Crafts made by the children will appeal to the American volunteers who frequent MdL. A personal interview with Erin Galloway, a board member of MdL, revealed that the store will provide a place where the American consumer can purchase crafts made by the children without the “guilt factor” of children directly try to sell them something. Finally, the idea of showing films in the yard outside the store is being considered. A screen can be hung from one of the outside walls (Figure 2). Films can be shown free of charge and provide a common place for the community to gather. Educational films can be shown to educate the community members. This idea of showing films is unique because no other place in the general vicinity is similar. Additionally, coffee will be sold in accompaniment to the films. 3. Dimensions of Store: Recorded and Photographed Investigation of the store revealed the store consists of two main rooms, a toilet and sink, and yard which encircles the premises. The green room (Figure 1) is where the vegetables and crafts are to be sold and the yellow room (Figure 3) will be for meat sales. Dimensions of the store: • • • • Green room: 4.55 meters by 5.45 meters Yellow room: 3.45 meters by 2.70 meters Entire building: 8 meters by 10 meters Yard: 20 meters by 20 meters
Figure 1. The green room of the store.
Figure 2. The yard of the store.
Figure 3. The yellow room of the store. 4. Lesson plans delivered
Figure 4. The garden at MdL.
As planned, a lesson on business and economics was delivered. It was well-received by the children. Time did not permit for the nutrition lesson plan; however, those plans were left with Lidia Romano, the education specialist at MdL, for future use. Links to the lesson plans are available online and are listed in the Appendix. 5. Jewelry crafted With the help of Reina, a local woman who sells handcrafted jewelry to American tourists, we taught the children to make items that will appeal to their customer.
Children were taught to use no more than two complementary colors for their creations to keep the designs simple and desirable. As a result, dozens of beautiful jewelry pieces were created that can be sold on behalf of MdL. It was evident that the children enjoyed this activity and were capable of creating valuable crafts. In the future, Lidia and Reina can designate a time devoted to creating more jewelry, and a system can be implemented so that the children can receive the profits of their respective items sold.
For sustainability of this project, it is imperative to keep in regular contact with the MdL staff, specifically Vicki Rush, Dario Rubio, and Lidia Romano. The information that we have gathered on this trip can be used for future OSU study abroad groups to use in their projects. The skills we taught the children in jewelry-making will hopefully sustain itself, as craft supplies and a book describing various techniques for beadwork has been left at MdL. We have also created a list of things that need to be purchased to achieve the intentions of the store. These include tables, chairs, shelves, a front door, a coffee maker, a DVD player, and a projector. Future groups may help with gathering information on the costs of these items. It is also important to note that the village often experiences power failure, so the frozen meat needs a back-up power supply to keep the food safe. Future groups may look into this issue. Finally, future groups traveling to MdL can create more specific plans on ensuring the merchandise of the store is replenished. Working with the gardeners, a plan may be devised to ensure that enough vegetables are regularly being grown to maintain an adequate stock in the store. A more specific plan may be written so that there is a system for the children receiving the profit they earn from the crafts sold.
6. CountryWatch. 13 Mar. 2009 <http://www.countrywatch.com>. 7. "EconEdLink | Do I Look Like I'm Made of Money?" EconEdLink | a premier source of classroom-tested, Internet-based economic education lesson plans for K-12 teachers and their students. 15 Mar. 2009. <http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson= EM556&page=teacher>. 8. "EconEdLink | I Can Be an Entrepreneur." EconEdLink | a premier source of classroomtested, Internet-based economic education lesson plans for K-12 teachers and their students. 15 Mar. 2009. <http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson= EM476&page=teacher>. 9. "EconEdLink | To Market To Market." EconEdLink | a premier source of classroomtested, Internet-based economic education lesson plans for K-12 teachers and their students. 15 Mar. 2009. <http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson= EM357&page=teacher>. 10. "EconEdLink | We are Consumers and Producers." EconEdLink | a premier source of classroom-tested, Internet-based economic education lesson plans for K-12 teachers and their students. 15 Mar. 2009 <http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson=EM457&page=teacher>. 11. Galloway, E. Personal Interviews. February and March 2009. 12. "FOOD -BUSINESS SPANISH TUTORIALS -." BUSINESS SPANISH LESSONS -HOME PAGE. 15 Mar. 2009 <http://www.businessspanish.com/LECCION/food.htm>. 13. Honduras Business Culture. 2003. Global Road Warrior. 13 Mar. 2009 <http://www.honduras-information.hotelhonduras.com>. 14. Infoplease: Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, Biographies, Dictionary, Thesaurus. Free online reference, research & homework help. — Infoplease.com. 13 Mar. 2009 <http://www.infoplease.com>. 15. Latino Nutrition Coalition. 2007. <http://www.latinonutrition.org/ResourcesEducationalMaterialsPDFsMore.htm>.
16. Mead, D. C., and C. Liedholm. "The Dynamics of Micro and Small Enterprises in Developing Countries." World Development 26.1 (1998): 61-74. 17. Storey, D. J. Understanding the Small Business Sector. United Kingdom: Cengage Learning EMEA, 1994. 18. Rush, V. Personal Interview. February 2009. 19. World Map, Map of the World. 13 Mar. 2009 <http://www.mapsofworld.com>.
Appendix ii. Lesson Plans Business/economics lesson plans: http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson=EM389&page=teacher http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson=EM675&page=teacher http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson=EM556&page=teacher http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson=EM457&page=teacher http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson=EM476&page=teacher http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lesson=EM357&page=teacher Nutrition lesson plan: http://www.scribd.com/doc/13300440/Nutrition-Lesson-Plan http://www.latinonutrition.org/documents/poster_4_health_pro.pdf iii. Final Memo to Dario iv. Summary of Communication Needs: Spanish Vocabulary v. Market Prices http://www.scribd.com/doc/14272984/Market-Prices vi. Business Plan