SEED Program Sparks a Successful Bakery in Peru
By Allie Jeppson
Graduates from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business earn diplomas for their hard work and effort. Four graduates in Peru, however, have their own bakery to show for their efforts.
SEED donors, interns, faculty members, and bakery owners stand outside of a bakery that was started with SEED funding. .
These are not graduates of the Huntsman School of Business but are, rather, those who have completed the Small Enterprise Education and Development program which is administered by the business school.
The Peruvian bakery, located in Juancaquito Bajo, Peru, was one of SEED’s very first projects that began with the school’s first Study Abroad trip to South America in 2007. It took two years for the business to open, however, because the entrepreneurs had to first find the right property and clear a number of legal hurdles, said Dave Herrmann, who has led the program since it began in 2007. Through this program, people not only in Peru, but also in Ghana and Uganda, are given the opportunity to learn and create their own businesses.
With the help of several Huntsman School students, the bakery was able to overcome start-up challenges and begin making a profit.
“It’s kind of a cool transition because it was one of our very first endeavors,”Mr. Herrmann said. “Such a business may not look like much to you and I, but to them it brings in two or three times what the average person makes and that kind of money is life-changing.”
Since its start, the SEED program continues to help build businesses in other countries through small enterprise projects. Each semester, students travel to Peru to carry out a three-step program, with the first two steps involving student interns teaching people the elements of starting a business. The entrepreneurs eventually created an executable business plan for their new ventures.
With loans ranging from $3,000 to $20,000, some 15 businesses have been launched. Three have paid off their loans, so far, and the others are still making payments, Mr. Herrmann said.