In the fall of 2006, several graduate business students began preliminary research to identify outreach opportunities in Nicaragua. The original research was focused on helping the Missionary Ventures International (MVI) Vocational School just outside Managua, Nicaragua.
Click here to watch more videos about outreach as business development.
Since that original mission, the Schools of Business outreach efforts have evolved into a program known as Project Nicaragua. Project Nicaragua is a student-initiated, student-led seminar, consulting and microfinance initiative to focus on poverty alleviation in Nicaragua. Student outreach efforts include conducting seminars for area business owners, raising money for small business loans, helping with business consulting projects and developing business plans. Through their work, students help provide education and vocational training to small businesses and marginalized communities.
Twice a year, a group of 18-24 students and two faculty members travel to Managua, Nicaragua and the surrounding towns to teach seminars on MBA business principals to local entrepreneurs. Students also visit the business owners’ place of work to learn more about their operation and identify future consulting projects and lending opportunities. While the entrepreneurs gain new skills and knowledge to improve their businesses, the students learn about the culture of small business in Central America. The group works with a local Nicaraguan organization called BNI and local mayors to get connected with entrepreneurs.
Since 2006, the program has grown from less than 20 Nicaraguan entrepreneurs to more than 70.