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When you google the word “microenterprise,” you might get a lot about startups and small companies. However, when you travel to Latin America with AMIGOS, microenterprise takes on a completely new definition.

In rural communities, microenterprises are business endeavors started by the community, for the community. Typically, these are family run, allowing one or two people in the household to support themselves and bring goods or services into their area. Some examples of these types of businesses include planting a small crop and selling it, starting a guinea pig farm, or even running a small beauty salon.

Microenterprises have a lot of benefits not only for the business owner but for the community as well.

Starting a small business allows the owner to utilize their skills and resources productively. This allows them to build a livelihood for their family, but it also enables them to support other community members’ livelihoods as they create jobs. Starting a business like this also opens access to often excluded communities, such as women or very remote families, allowing them to partake in the community in a new way.

Microenterprises also encourage local ownership. By empowering people to invest in their own community, they are encouraging local economy, which can boost area expansion as well.

Since less resources are needed to start a microenterprise, there are fewer barriers to begin.

If you travel with our Chimborazo, Ecuador Project, you will get a hands-on experience with microenterprises. You’ll partner with community members and determine how to start a microenterprise (or in Spanish – microproyecto) that meets the wants and needs of their community. Throughout the summer, you will work with local students to grow their microenterprise. And you’ll earn 215 service hours along the way.

Eli Samson with his plan for a guinea pig farm (cuyera).

Building a microenterprise can also give you hands-on experience that will help your future. Use your experience as a starting point for a business or economics degree. Writing about starting your own business is a great topic for a college admissions essay! AMIGOS Houston Chapter alum Eli started a guinea pig farm for his microenterprise project in Chimborazo, which helped him decide to pursue economics and Latin American studies in college.

Microenterprises may not be the largest businesses in the world, but they can truly impact a community.

Are you ready to jump into adventure and try your hand at micro enterprises? Apply to AMIGOS today!

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