Entrepreneurship I - Entrepreneurs in Emerging Economies (Panama)

Learn and apply concepts of entrepreneurship and business planning in the context of microenterprises in rural Central America. Learn about business models for microenterprises 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 deliverable 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 TeleBrigade 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 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 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: 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

GB 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

Impact Reporting

Students will be included in Global Brigades’ regular newsletters and receive project updates and overall monitoring and evaluation of our programs.



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