Learn about Panama’s unique role in globalization and apply SWOT Analysis framework to consult small businesses in rural Panama.
Students are guided by economic development professionals in Panama to learn the cultural context of one of the world’s most important trade routes, the Panama Canal. Students work alongside mentors from leading consulting firms to identify growth opportunities or areas of efficiency to help our clients, microenterprises in rural resource-limited communities. Through client interviews, concepts of microfinance, cultural sharing, and utilization of our deliverable templates, students create and present their deliverables to the clients for consideration.
Sample deliverables include:
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.
Module2: Country Overview and Role In Globalization
Talk with GB Economic Development Expert to learn about Panama’s unique role in globalization and both the economic and social effects. Self-paced activity: Analyze and reflect on the effect of globalization in rural/indigenous communities and their integration in Global Supply Chains.
Module 3: Economic Development and Microfinance
Talk with GB Economic Development Expert to learn about businesses in the developing world, an introduction to microfinance, and the role of small businesses in reducing poverty. Self-paced activity: Group reflects on GB economic development model and the role of microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation. Spanish competition: group encouraged to create Duolingo accounts and compete for “rewards” for who gets furthest throughout the class.
Module 4: Client Selection
Coordinator presents three potential client profiles and supports students in choosing. Self-paced activity: Group reviews client information and informs staff of client selection.
Module 5: SWOT Framework
Coordinator walks through the SWOT Analysis framework as a tool to examine and consult businesses. Self-paced activity: Group reviews business templates and sample deliverable materials.
Module 6: Initial Client Meeting Preparation
Coordinator presents client information, including a virtual business tour, and the context of the business beforehand. Self-paced Activity: Students review the Spanish business packet and Executive Summary template to prepare their initial questions for the clients.
Module 7: Initial Client Meeting
Introductory meeting between client and group to build relationship and have cultural exchange. Self-paced Activity: Group reviews notes from the client meeting and divides into teams and assigns tasks by business topic/deliverable.
Module 8: Mentor Session with Professional Consultant
Mentor and GB coordinator help prepare the group to ask the 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: Client Consultation Day
Live virtual session with business clients to do SWOT analysis and gather information for final business deliverables. Self-paced Activity: Group begins work to create business deliverables utilizing templates.
Modules 10 and 11: Deliverable Creation
Two working sessions with coordinators to answer questions and help students create their business deliverables. Self-paced Activity: Continuing working in teams to finalize deliverables.
Module 12: Deliverable Submission and Final Mentor Feedback
Group submits final deliverables and presentations for final feedback from mentors. Self-paced Activity: Make any last edits to the presentation and final deliverables 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, its place in globalization, and whether your client would be a good candidate for lenders to invest in.
Module 14: Presentation to Client
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 specific client 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 group on clients’ feedback of deliverables 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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