Monday, July 6, 2009

Mid-Project Update

It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the half point of our work with Acción Emprendedora. On Friday, we had a meeting with a few of the directors to present our work thus far and plans for the future. Here are some excerpts from our presentation and the one-page handouts that we prepared:

Elana and Karna’s field research project:
-Their project consists of interviewing micro-entrepreneurs and gathering qualitative and quantitative information about the successes and failures of the micro-enterprises. Karna is also working on developing a template for web profiles for ideal candidates.

-As of July 2nd, they had conducted 15 interviews and have many more scheduled. The interview questions focus on descriptions of the micro-entrepreneurs’ businesses, their monthly profits, revenues, number of workers, etc. They also ask questions about hypothetical services that AE could offer in the future. The interviews are filmed using flips cams, while the results are complied in an excel spreadsheet.

-Eventually, Elana and Karna plan to statistically analyze the data once they have a bigger sample size and report their findings to AE.

-The process isn’t always easy. Many times, they don’t have the correct contact info for the micro-entrepreneurs. Other times, micro-entrepreneurs don’t show for their interviews. To combat these problems, the group now phones the micro-entrepreneurs to remind them about their interviews, or they interview people already at the Puente Alto center.

Liz and Rachel’s alumni association project:
-Liz and Rachel are in charge on planning the 2nd annual alumni party, as well as improving current AE alumni relations. They hope to establish a collaborative sense of community, where alums can share ideas and mentor micro-entrepreneurs currently enrolled in AE courses.

-Working with Elana and Karna, they are creating a video to show at the banquet. This video highlights AE’s work and the advice of micro-entrepreneurs. They are also creating an alumni directory, which can aid projects like Elana and Karna’s in the future.

-In addition to contacting micro-entrepreneurs about the reunion and creating the video, Liz and Rachel are hoping to attract some sponsorship and speakers for the event.

-Like the other groups, they have faced difficulties, including editing videos and deciding what content to include in the videos.

Grant and Jordan’s educational consulting:
-The primary aim of Grant and Jordan’s project has been to create an instructor’s manual for the course on production, which includes lesson plans, examples, practice problems, and an accompanying PowerPoint.

-To begin, the two designed a questionnaire to send to former teachers of the production course. Additionally, they attended several classes to meet micro-entrepreneurs and study the style of teaching. Finally, they researched various aspects of production online to gain a better understanding of the material and how it can apply to micro-enterprises.

-Now, they have completed a preliminary, 35-page draft of the instructor’s manual in Spanish. Currently, they are working on the PowerPoint slides.

-Progress has moved along quicker than they anticipated. The former volunteers replied fully and prompted. Unfortunately, there have been problems with accessibility and compatibility. Some computers have trouble dealing with the sheer size of the document, as well as some of the graphics.

Overall, all three groups are progressing quite well in their respective projects. There is quite a bit of overlap between the projects. Elana, Karna, Liz, and Rachel work together in their interviews, even though they are searching for different data. Grant and Jordan collaborate with Elana and Karna to find useful case studies for the production course. The next four weeks will certainly continue to be exciting!

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