Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Business Workshops in El Pantanal

This post is written by Trent Shelton, PHPG's Program Coordinator in the Granada region.

Bernie teaches 35 PHPG clients about basic accounting principles as part of our Microfinance Plus program
PHPG’s core function is to give microloans ranging from $120 to $280 to local entrepreneurs in Nicaragua. However, just as important as giving a loan is providing an opportunity to develop business skills and business education. This is often called Microfinance Plus.

In the month of October, we have a volunteer by the name of Bernie Ringer-Britz. Bernie has an incredible background with a wealth of business consulting experience. His knowledge and desire to help others has been extremely helpful for our clients and other community members. He has sat down with numerous clients to review their business one-on-one. He has given clients many new ideas for their businesses as well as giving a fresh look at their operations.

This past Sunday evening, we invited our entire group loan clients in El Pantanal to a taller, a business workshop. With a good turnout of 35 clients, we handed out a simple accounting sheet for the entrepreneurs to track their inventory, calculate their net income, and to figure out their margins for each product. The clients were very interested in the sheet and were excited to learn how to use it.

Possibly the biggest difficulty was the wide range of age and education levels within our clients. The age of the attendees ranged from 18 years old to 75 years old. Education levels range from elementary school to possibly having studied in college for a few years. Teaching to 35 students with this big of a range proved difficult; but after splitting into smaller groups, our clients walked away with an understanding of how to do basic accounting for their respective businesses and were ready to put these into action. In the future, we will be visiting each loan group individually to reinforce the concepts and to ensure everything is going smoothly with the accounting sheets.

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