Teaching Youth Entrepreneurship in Mexico
In just weekend last November, 25 deserving kids became 25 incredible young entrepreneurs. Here is their story!
A popular tourist destination, San José del Cabo, Mexico is known for its beautiful beaches and colonial architecture. The city boasts elegant hotels and restaurants that draw tens of thousands of visitors each year. Tourism is the main industry in San José del Cabo, supported by a local population of just over 93,000 people who make an average of $99 MXN pesos an hour (the equivalent of about $5.06 USD) (Economic Research Institute).
Helping to provide support and resources for the community of San José del Cabo and beyond is Gente Joven Por Un Cambio (GJC), or Young People for a Change. According to its website, GJC’s vision is that, “One day, each young person will have the capacity, initiative and confidence to engage and transform their communities.”
In late 2018, GJC partnered with YouthBiz to introduce entrepreneurship to the youth of southern Baja peninsula. “Entrepreneurship education builds leadership, confidence, and self-discovery, skills that help students, especially low-income students, succeed in school and in life,” said Anna Leer, Vice President of YouthBiz. “Partnering with Gente Joven Por Un Cambio in Mexico was a perfect fit.”
After a successful pilot of the introductory YouthBiz StartUp program, the first official session at GJC occurred November 24-25 at the Colegio Mission in San José del Cabo. Students age 10-14 spent five hours each day learning the basics of entrepreneurship, including solving a problem, creating a prototype, researching competition, and preparing a business pitch to present for a panel of judges.
Two teams earned top honors, which included a $1,500 MXN prize. Winning the elementary age category was “Sport Wear,” clothing that provides protection from sport-related injuries and impact. Judges complimented the group’s professional introduction, clear financials, and business attire—“This boy won before he arrived because he got dressed to win,” said a judge.
In the middle school age category, “No Sugar Cakes” took home the grand prize. Inspired by a family member’s struggle with diabetes, the group created a local, fruit-based dessert that benefits farmers and that diabetics can eat.
Whether they won or not, all participants gained something. “The kids were focused, had fun, and understood the main purpose of the workshop,” wrote a GJC Coach who facilitated the workshop. One participant commented, “YouthBiz will help me manage my money, realize my ideas, and present them.” Another added, “I learned to manage my money and not spend it on things I want.” Finally, one participant wrote, “When I grow up, I will be able to make a Dog Wash business instead of a Car Wash.”
GJC plans to offer three additional YouthBiz workshops next year, delivering a hands-on lesson in entrepreneurship to even more youth.