Babson Students Bring Entrepreneurship Skills to Family-Owned Businesses in Guatemala
From left (standing): Coffee farmer Don Philberto, Fabian Lopez ‘09, Eric Drozdov ’10, Nohely Arteaga ’11, and Claudia Gutierrez ‘09; front: Jesse Diaz ’09 and Evelyn Spiegel ‘09
During winter break in January six Babson students spent eight days in Guatemala with math and sciences lecturer William Huss.
They got to put to good use the lessons learned in their entrepreneurship classes to support local family-owned businesses, thereby developing their own skills. The hands-on experience immersed them in the Guatemalan culture where they learned about local production of coffee, jade, textiles, ceramics, woodworking, and metalwork.
When the students weren’t consulting with business owners, they helped build houses and visited struggling families accompanied by a social worker.
“As the ‘Land of Eternal Spring’, Guatemala’s natural beauty is matched only by its extreme poverty and the hardships resulting from decades of civil war. This trip gave me an opportunity to introduce Babson’s entrepreneurial students to the challenges of operating a small business in a developing country where shortages of equipment and business expertise abound, coupled with social injustices such as worker exploitation, violence and environmental degradation,” says Huss.
Since 1986, when my sister adopted a child from Guatemala, the country has held a special place in my heart. I hope the students came away with an appreciation of how to apply the skills they are learning at Babson not only to further their own careers, but to assist families who are less fortunate.
Visit www.commonhope.org and click on “You Can Help,” “Vision Teams,” then “Vision Team Photo Diary” to view their captioned photos and get a sense of the wide range of experiences.