We recognize that microfinance is not a stand-alone solution to tackling poverty’s multidimensional complexities; it is one of many tools that can be used to grow a business and improve the wellbeing of families and communities. Educational programs are a key component of our model at Fundación En Vía. In terms of our business training courses, we offer a series of introductory business courses as an entry requirement to the program as well as ongoing monthly business workshops covering a variety of topics. Among these topics:
Foundational Business Management Course
Before they are eligible to receive their first loan with En Vía, all entrepreneurs are required to participate in an introductory business course. The goal of these initial classes is that women learn the fundamentals of how to run and grow a business. These 8 sessions take one month to complete and are offered on a regular basis in each community to welcome women to the program. The classes cover a broad range of topics, some of which include: defining and separating business money and personal finances; calculating profits and fixing prices; how to avoid losing money in business; and managing credit sales. Each borrower in our program receives 8 hours of business training before receiving her first loan. The curriculum for this course was developed through a training with the non-profit Freedom From Hunger. It is conversation- and example-based and designed to be adapted for students with a range of literacy levels.
Monthly Business Courses
We also offer monthly business courses which are mandatory for all women participating in the program, to support them in successfully growing their businesses. Topics of the monthly courses have included marketing and branding, pricing, setting goals and objectives, and how to implement new ideas, among many others.
In order to continue to provide the women in our program with new educational opportunities, we offer various workshops throughout the year that aim to support the women both personally and in their business. The topics of these workshops tend to be an intersection of the current interests of the women in the program and the volunteers we have available.
Examples of recent workshops include:
Design and Marketing of Textile Accessories
Branding & Design Workshop
Health & Nutrition: Diabetes Prevention
Our English teaching program, the first initiative beyond the microloan and tourism programs, was launched in January 2010. Currently, we provide English language classes in two communities: Teotitlán Del Valle and Tlacochahuaya. The classes are given twice a week in each community by a team of dedicated volunteers. We reach approximately 50 students, mostly youth, through our English classes.