Ideas Emprendedoras is a competition organized by the Foundation Nuevo Norte in Bolivia. About twice a year a large, Bolivian national contest takes place where entrepreneurs can submit a business plan or idea in order to win a prize. These are cash prizes, but also for example professional help in starting their business. We felt it was important to promote the social and sustainable aspects in new business in Bolivia and that is why SIFE Leiden has created its own category within the contest. With the help of the NCDO, four prices of four thousand U.S. dollars were awarded to social and sustainable project/business plans. We have chosen the winners ourselves from a selection of many project plans. Besides the financial help they get, winners also start a partnership with SIFE Leiden to make the project (or company) a success. Because of this competition we recently made four new partners in Santa Cruz and La Paz! During the evaluation of the plans we have worked with other institutions like ICCO, USAID, the British Embassy and fomem, which was an interesting learning experience for us.
Fish for the Future
Food prices in Bolivia keep on rising. Meat is very expensive and in most cases the quality is not up to par. Unfortunately fish farming is not well known in Bolivia yet; even though fish is very healthy and trading in it is very profitable. That is why SIFE Leiden together with Pescavida – our local partner organization and a fish farm – started a programme where young people learn the skills necessary to work at the fish farm. With this project healthy nutrition is stimulated, young people receive vocational training and the best of them have the opportunity to work part time at Pescavida. As of now a lot of young people are working at Pescavida and the company is able to hire more employees. The SIFE Leiden volunteers gave workshops to the youngsters regarding marketing fish and starting an own fish farm and company in general.
Art for Income
Samaipata is a tourist village situated at a distance of 120km to Santa Cruz. In order to make the local entrepreneurs think more about how to profit from these tourists, SIFE Leiden organized an entrepreneurial competition with a prize consisting of money. Also, we gave some workshops involving marketing and corporate responsibility. Luly Gutiérrez won the competition with her idea to let the local women and children make souvenirs of good quality and to let them sell these. At this point, the project is in an ending phase and the women are learning how to perfect their skills and how to make their souvenirs, their art, look perfect. They are learning everything about painting, baking and selling and they receive support from the Bolivian government in courses containing administration skills and so on.
In the local community La Libertad lots of families are struggling to survive. Especially the prices for food are up in Bolivia. The only things that were missing in order to grow and/or sell homegrown corps were the knowledge and money. SIFE Leiden in collaboration with a local partner organization BioNaturAnd has set up a program that gives workshops in ecological farming. On top of that SIFE Leiden is providing the necessary seeds and fertilizer. The students with SIFE Leiden have given workshops on how to best sell the products. Now the fields are flourishing with crops and jalapenos can be found on the shelves of supermarkets!
Sustainable Farming 2
Due to the use of heavy toxins in agriculture in Bolivia lots of crops are bad for the health and hard to sell. This is one of the reasons that farmers are living in poverty. SIFE Leiden in collaboration with a local partner BioNaturAnd has set up a business that grows medicinal mushrooms in an ecological manner. With this company local farmers are able to see how profitable biological farming works. Next to this the growing of medicinal mushrooms is proven to be very profitable. That is why the company will soon be able to hire employees..
For many families in the village of Huaytu bee-keeping and selling honey is a important source of income. Unfortunately the honey was not of high quality and so wasn’t the price. Together with a local partner Aguarague, SIFE Leiden hired a professional beekeeper and provided good wood to built more beehives. Next to that SIFE Leiden gave workshops on selling the products and on running the administrative side of the business. For the latter SIFE Leiden donated a laptop. The end result is now that the honey is twice as good and well prices. Lessons are continuing and the students with SIFE Leiden continue keeping a keen eye on this project to maximize the success of it all.
Sweet Business Sante Fe
Following the success of the project Sweet Business in the village of Huaytu SIFE Leiden has decided to start the same type of project in Santa Fe. SIFE Leiden teamed up again with Aguarague and made good use of the enthusiasm of the locals in Santa Fe. Lessons have also started in Santa Fe and materials have been provided to built beehives. A lot more families than expected have enrolled in the workshop. Even people from nearby villages have shown interest in this project! SIFE Leiden is now looking in to the possibility of putting a quality mark on the honey.
BoliBlocs has been a project of SIFE Leiden since November 2010 and therefore is one of our newest projects. We got to know this project through the Ideas Emprendedoras competition. Lorenzo Condori, our project partner, started a small Company (Bloques Ecológicos) producing a kind of limestone. These bricks are not baked in the oven, but are pressed into a mould by a machine. Both the bricks and machine are being sold. It is an ecological company situated in El Alto and the sole producer of this kind of bricks in Bolivia. Lorenzo wants to expand and professionalize his company, and SIFE Leiden helps him on this. Even though the project is still in the starting phase, it already has a clear outline. The cash prize won on the competition is being used to purchase a drill which will facilitate the production and improves the quality of the machine. Furthermore we will assist Lorenzo in the realisation of a school, in the indigenous community of Araona. We will recruit a Dutch engineering student who will assist him during the construction of this building. We also want to pair Bloques Ecológicos up with a Dutch Company which produces the same kind of bricks, in order to facilitate knowledge and information exchange.
The situation in Madagascar’s prisons is dire, and few attempts are made at equipping detainees with the skills to allow their reintegration into society. Together with the local NGO APRAM we set up a 3-phase project for a group of 25 male detainees, en 15 adolescents. In the first phase they receive Life Skills Trainings (LST) which focus on teaching them to deal with their emotions, health issues and reintegration into society upon release. In phase 2, they receive French language lessons, because the ability to communicate both verbally and on paper in French, next to the local language Malagasy, is essential to finding a job or setting up a business. In phase 3 they are learn financial literacy, with a focus on learning to save money and set up a business plan. They also learn a skill, in this case pottery, so that they will have a means of generating a cash flow upon release.
To ensure that detainees who are released at an earlier time can still complete all phases of the project, SIFE Leiden is now busy setting up a centre outside of the Antanimoro prison, where they can continue trainings and receive support from a social worker.
Projectgroup The Netherlands
Drop into Business
Ondernemerschap in Nederland wordt door veel verschillende personen en instanties gestimuleerd, maar nadat is begonnen met ondernemen neemt begeleiding in sterke mate af. Dit terwijl juist de beginfase cruciaal is. Samen met de gemeente Leiden, de KvK Leiden en lokaal bedrijfsleven zoeken wij coaches uit dezelfde branche als de startende ondernemer voor de startende ondernemer. Coaches houden zich niet bezig met de dagelijkse bezigheden van de ondernemer, maar fungeren een dagdeel in de week als extra steun in de rug door advies te geven over de gang van zaken en de vorderingen. Op deze manier werken veel personen en instanties samen aan een duurzame onderneming door kennis te delen voor een betere toekomst.
SIFE Leiden heeft zichzelf ten doel gesteld scholieren en medestudenten kennis te laten maken met ontwikkelings- samenwerking en hen hiervoor te enthousiasmeren. Door middel van interactieve workshops delen wij onze kennis en ervaringen. Inmiddels zijn op universiteiten en middelbare scholen in Bolivia, de VS en Nederland meer dan 70 workshops gegeven voor duizenden jongeren. In Bolivia zijn studenten aan de slag gegaan met het voor hen nieuwe concept van sociaal ondernemerschap en in Nederland hebben scholieren zich aangemeld bij goede doelen. Wij zijn nu bezig deze workshops uit te breiden naar andere leeftijdsgroepen.
The Green Mile Project
The lack of both visibility and awareness of sustainability within Leiden University has been the main driver behind the launch of 'The Green Mile Project'. By creating a platform within the University, we aim to establish the first institutionalized organization that will address sustainability from within the student population. Our project will facilitate the implementation of projects that will contribute to a more sustainable University, by promoting links between University policy and student ideas. The fund provides thousands of students with a concrete opportunity to contribute to a University that significantly mitigates its impact on the environment. Especially because the projects within the fund will be geared in such a way that their profits will flow back into the fund, we firmly believe that as time progresses, larger projects can be launched, with bigger impact. At the moment 'The Green Mile Project' is still in its initial phase. As our plans have been welcomed and encouraged by the Executive Board of Leiden University, we now find ourselves searching hard for innovative projects, establishing of the fund, and promoting our platform within the student population.
This project’s aim is to help the Leidse Voedselbank. We learned that, they don’t collect enough foodpackages on their own, for those who need it. We, as students want to use a different approach of collecting food, than the Voedselbank normally does. By working together with local supermarkets in Leiden, we give the community of Leiden the opportunity to support the Voedselbank. After people have done their groceries, they have the option to donate a product to the Leidse Voedselbank. The benefits of this project are, that it’s very easy to maintain, not many volunteers of the Voedselbank will be needed. There are almost 70 supermarkets in Leiden, because this project is easy to maintain it’s also easy to expand to other supermarkets. Another main benefit is that; this project can be done throughout the whole year, the Leidse voedselbank often gets during Christmas a lot of donations but in spring they barely get any. With this project we want to increase the amount of foodpackages the Leidse Voedselbank collects weekly for the families that need it. At the moment we are making contact with the first supermarket to organize this project.