All EARTH students run a real business during their first years at EARTH, fostering entrepreneurial mindsets and planting the seed for future business development. The following stories are just a few examples of the businesses our alumni have created and how EARTH’s values are reflected within those enterprises, resulting in a lasting and positive effect on their communities.
The education Joaquin received at EARTH helped sharpen the technical and business management skills he had learned watching his parents run their own small business. It also imbued a large dose of social and environmental responsibility, notes Joaquin: “When you study at EARTH, there is this feeling that is always under the surface that is difficult to describe. It is a message that makes you want to create something and generate a positive impact in the lives of others, the community and the environment. It is what you think about every time you make a decision.”
Mayra doesn’t just look to revolutionize the coffee business in her country; she also strives to be an agent of change. She reflects that, “If I hadn’t studied at EARTH, I definitely would not have the business vision that I have today, nor the comprehensive training to act as an agent of change. I feel that I have a responsibility to make change, not necessarily that I need to do it myself, but rather inspire a transformation that can generate economic growth and transform people’s lives so that people do not feel the need to belong to gangs. I want people to work with pride, make money and help others. ”
The impact that ECOPACIFIC has made in the lives of the owners as well as their loyal employees is described by Kevin as “Totally gratifying and exciting.” For his brother José, working with healthy natural products while helping local farmers is a big source of motivation.
With 193 employees, ECOPACIFIC is an important source of jobs in the Sangoloquí and Portoviejo regions of Ecuador, and is described by its owners as “a business of human beings; it’s not about the buildings or the fruit, it’s the people that make it possible.”
For Kevin, working side by side with his brother has been very positive, and both share a conviction reaffirmed through experience that EARTH is “the best agribusiness school in Latin America.”
Her company promotes technologies that diminish the environmental impact of agricultural activities in Honduras, principally through the use of a cultured mix of microorganisms called Efficient Microorganisms or EM.
Maribel left EARTH with the dream of someday owning her own business, and after six years of working and saving money for her dream, she left her job and invested in her project. Ecobalance currently distributes EM products all over the country where they are recognized as ecological, low-cost and production-boosting solutions.
“I left EARTH with determination to create my own business, not just to make money for my family and me, but to develop my country without damaging the environment. Today, I can say that I have a job that I love and a company that makes me proud.”
The business has grown significantly, from three employees in 2004 to a staff of 38 in 2014. For the employees of Entre Nubes, the company means a better quality of life and an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.
Although Daniel admits that there is nothing that can fully prepare you for the surprises that come with owning your own business, he credits EARTH University for providing him with the tools for success. “EARTH’s program allowed us to start our own business in our first year, exposing us to what it is really like to work for yourself; it makes you curious to try it out in the real world.”
In addition to providing much needed jobs, Sylvia’s yogurt utilizes produce that would otherwise be wasted. “The majority of produce in Uganda are sold fresh, so there are significant losses after the harvest. The yogurt processing business was created precisely to reduce these losses.” Apart from viewing Farm Reap as a solution for problems in her community, Sylvia adds that, “I am doing what I love. It makes me feel accomplished.”
The Entrepreneurial Projects Program that she experienced at EARTH years ago made her realize that owning her own business was possible, “EARTH gave me the invaluable skills that have allowed me to do what I do.”
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