Learn and apply concepts of entrepreneurship and business planning in the context of small farms and businesses in rural Central America.
Students are guided by our local economic development professionals and mentors from leading consulting firms to build business plans (Canvas Model) for aspiring entrepreneurs in rural resource-limited communities in Panama. Through client interviews, concepts of microfinance, industry research, cultural sharing, and utilization of our templates, students create and present business plans with our selected clients.
In addition to our skill-based learning objectives, building cultural competence is integrated into the course to increase the quality of services and improve outcomes with community partners.
Customize your Business TeleSquad by selecting a set of modules. Explore available modules below:
Module 1: Introductions and Program Overview
Coordinator and student introductions along with a presentation on Squads Abroad (SA) and the work of our parent organization Global Brigades (GB) in Panama. Self-paced activity: Group reviews Panama economic development program materials in the context of GB’s Holistic Model for community development.
Module 2: Small Businesses in Indigenous and Rural Panama
Our small business expert in Panama talks about the culture and business environment for indigenous and rural Panamanian communities. Self-Paced Activity: Reading Material: Can we Know Better? Reflections for Development (Chambers, 2017)
Module 3: Financing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
Talk with GB Economic Development Expert to learn about entrepreneurship in the developing world and an introduction to microfinance as a means to providing start-up capital for entrepreneurs. Self-paced activity: The group receives three potential entrepreneur profiles to choose who to work with.
Module 4: Entrepreneur Selection
Coordinator presents potential entrepreneurs and supports students to choose which they will work with. Self-paced activity: Group reviews entrepreneur information and informs staff of selection.
Module 5: Canvas Business Model
Coordinator walks through the Business Model Canvas framework that the group will develop with the entrepreneur. Self-paced activity: Group reviews Business Model Canvas framework further.
Module 6: Initial Meeting Preparation
Coordinator presents entrepreneur information, including virtual community tour, loan details/application, and context of the business idea beforehand. Self-paced Activity: Students review the Spanish business packet and Executive Summary template to prepare their initial questions for the entrepreneurs.
Module 7: Initial Meeting with Entrepreneur
Introductory meeting between entrepreneur and group to build relationship and have cultural exchange. Self-paced Activity: Group reviews notes from meeting and divides into teams and assigns tasks by sections of the business model.
Module 8: Mentor Session with Professional Consultant
Mentor and SA coordinator help prepare the group to ask most strategic questions during the consultation day. Self-paced Activity: Group prepares and assigns questions to ask business clients based on mentor guidance.
Module 9: Second Meeting with Entrepreneur
Live virtual session with the entrepreneur to answer questions and gather information for business modeling. Self-paced Activity: Group begins work to create business modeling utilizing Canvas Model.
Modules 10 and 11: Business Model Creation
Two working sessions with coordinators to answer questions and help students create their business model. Self-paced Activity: Continuing working in teams to finalize the model.
Module 12: Business Model Submission and Final Mentor Feedback
Group submits final business model and presentations for final feedback from mentors. Self-paced Activity: Make any last edits to the presentation and final business model based on mentor feedback.
Module 13: Microfinance Activity with Kiva
Group works to support access to small business loans by providing loan updates to Kiva donors. GB is a partner of Kiva (a microloan crowdfunding platform). Self-paced Activity: Review the Kiva platform and whether your client would be a good candidate for lenders to invest in.
Module 14: Presentation to Entrepreneur
Group presents via a video conference to the client with the coordinator providing translation. Group receives feedback from the client. Up to 2 hrs. Self-paced Activity: Group decides to make a donation to capitalize any loans needed for the entrepreneur or helps create a Kiva profile for them. Students complete the evaluation survey and prepare final reflections. Procure cooking materials and watch the instructional cooking video.
Module 15: Cultural Activity and Project Celebration
Squads coordinator debriefs the group on feedback from the entrepreneur and reflects on personal and professional development. The team celebrates and shows off how their local dish turned out. Self-paced Activity: Group reviews monitoring and evaluation reports
Students will be included in Squads Abroad’s regular newsletters and receive project updates and overall monitoring and evaluation of our programs.
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