Student shares insights gained while serving entrepreneurs in Peru
Jordan Schaefermeyer watches as an entrepreneur makes a batch of yogurt.
Jordan Schaefermeyer teaches some potential loan recipients in Salaverry, Peru.
Jordan Schaefermeyer and Nefi López, far right, talk with a group of entrepreneurs who are raising guinea pigs. (Photos by David Herrmann)
By Jordan Schaefermeyer, a junior majoring in finance and economics
Most of us want to progress, realize our own dreams and find great reward in our accomplishments. But there is much more that we can do. As I traveled to Peru in the spring of 2009, I realized that by helping and working with others, I could help them accomplish great things. I found that I could help them accomplish their dreams too, not just my own. I discovered how rewarding it is to help others achieve their goals and dreams.
The SEED (Small Enterprise Education and Development) program at Utah State University gave me the unique opportunity to travel to Trujillo, Peru, and spend spring semester helping people prepare themselves to apply for micro loans. The SEED program and a company called Danper located in Trujillo, created a non-governmental organization (NGO) named Sembrando Futuro. I was able to help people apply for micro loans through Sembrando Futuro to start their own business who might have not been able to secure a loan by any other means.
Nefi López and I traveled to Trujillo and had been given an assignment to help the existing loan recipients in a small town called Huancaquito Bajo, located 90 minutes south of Trujillo. (López graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences and a minor in business.) A bakery, a guinea pig farm and a yogurt shop were three businesses that had been proposed but had not yet opened. Nefi and I worked with Elena Pajilla, who was a full-time employee of Sembrando Futuro. We met with each group weekly to help them resolve any issues they had and to supervise the use of their loans. By the time I left, each group had overcome its challenges and had opened its businesses to start selling to the community. I was able to see the inauguration of the bakery and witness the community’s excitement at the prospect of new, fresh and locally baked bread made available to them.
Nefi and I also taught classes to potential loan recipients just south of Trujillo in Salaverry. We met twice a week with about 20 people and taught them basic business principles. These groups worked very hard and were grateful to be given this opportunity to learn how they could become successful with their own business ideas. The SEED program will be able to help many more people achieve their dreams so they can improve their own lives as well as those of their families and communities.