Success! The weekend workshop for the participants with the most viable business plans that were written throughout the “Construye tus sueños” entrepreunership course taught by volunteers across the country was a success. There were 28 participants from 19 different cities who gathered together in Asunción for a weekend of getting motivated, presenting their business plans in front of a panel of judges and taking home tools for how to put their business plan into action.
Six business plans even walked away with seed funding (thanks in large part to our friends at 8th Street Mennonite Church!) to help get the business rolling.
After months of planning the event and thinking things through, it was amazing to see it all come together. When the first volunteer and his youth walked into the lobby I was struck by this, “Wow, so people really are going to show up for this” thought. Then when guest speakers ducked out of their likely busy schedules to speak to our participants and 8 judges paid attention to presentations for hours on Saturday afternoon and returned on Sunday to make the final decision of which business ideas to invest in, I was humbled again.
The youth entrepreneurs presented some great ideas. They were prepared and professional and I was impressed. The judges had a few minutes to ask questions to each participant after their presentation before we swiftly moved onto the next.
I felt elated during the closing ceremony on Sunday morning. It could have been in part because of the relief that comes with finishing a large task, but I believe it was more than that. I, along with the participants, felt encouraged by the farewell speeches made by representatives of our partners and others. They spoke of the importance of going after your dreams and of being the change Paraguay needs. Even those who didn’t earn the seed funding hopefully walked away with some new contacts, skills and motivation to continue adelante.
By the way, I didn’t have the chance to snap many photos of the weekend’s events (as you may have noticed) so be sure to watch our official Facebook page for all those goods soon and very soon.
Did any of you attend the business plan workshop? If so, what was your favorite part?