“YES” to Entrepreneurship

Last November, Bob, Rocio Nuñez (National Coordinator of the Green Light Program (GL)) and I visited the Investing Hope Foundation in Bogota to learn about their entrepreneurship program with school children. Impressive to say the least!

YES group in Mesa de los Santos

This year, the program was brought to Santander where there are 6 groups, two in rural schools and 4 in Fandic. Group size ranges between 12 and 18 students. Seeing this is a pilot year, Rocio is facilitator of all the groups but she will provide training to other facilitators with the GL program so programs can be opened in other schools next year.

Bob and I visited the Yes Groups in the Mesa de los Santos and in Fandic. We were enamored with the enthusiasm with which the program has taken hold and will try transmit some of this enthusiasm from them to you.

Students submit earnings.

First order of business is for the students to submit their earnings to the elected committee who records the intake and the balance between earnings and the amount owed for raw materials.

Students select sweets to put on the skewers.

Rocio shows them how the skewer or “pincho” is to be constructed. Students select a 3 large candies and 4 small candies for each pincho.

Two Fandic children construct their Pincho

Then they begin to construct their pincho. Those in Fandic receive assistance in helping them with the process. It is used as a teaching moment to teach numbers, colours and relative size. It also helps to improve dexterity.

The pincho is wrapped in a bag and secured with a ribbon.

The pincho sells for $0.50 of which the student earns $0.25. Besides the pincho, the students sell pound cake baked in the Fandic bakery, chocolates made by Isidoro’s chocolate factory, and candy bags. Since July, the two groups in the Mesa have sold 1,433 pinchos and 996 pieces of pound cake for a total of 822,000 COP or $411.00 in savings.

The children sell to family and friends. Some of them have pre-orders. Their earnings go into a box and accounts are triple checked. At the end of the year, they have the option of opening a savings account in the local bank. They can either withdraw the money or continue to save. Some saving goals are the purchase of clothing, a telescope, a camera and for travel.

A Mother poses with her pre-school daughter and her niece.

Parents are anxious for their children to become involved in the program because they recognize the value. The smallest girl on the left is 5 years old. Her mother on the right told her what to do, but she made the pincho. The middle girl is a cousin, who was quite productive!

Entrepreneurship and saving have taken hold! More on this topic in weeks to come.