Yesterday morning was the Departmental Entrepreneurship Competition. This was the culmination of a lot of planning on my and my counterparts’ parts, a series of local competitions, and hard work on the part of 11 teams of students from municipalities around León.
The competition went really well. We started nearly an hour late (typical), and the auditorium we had was very very hot (also expected), but other than that everything ran smoothly.
The day for me started at 6 AM at my site-mate Joanna’s house. Her host mom, Dulce, helped me in absolutely every aspect of the competition, from making the snacks to being a judge. We had to make 120 chicken salad sandwiches for all of the competitors and other guests. I had already bought 24 liters of soda the day before.
At 7 AM I was off to the auditorium where we held the event to finish setting up and greeting all of the teams and guests. At this point I was firmly in my barking orders mode. But luckily all of my helpers, mostly fellow Volunteers, were willing to help out and knew that I was only doing it for the sake of efficiency.
We were supposed to start at 8, but things really didn’t kick off until 9. We recited the national anthem, introduced the judges, heard from the Department Schools Superintendent, and thanked our sponsors, before getting to the actual presentations. Each group of students came up to the front of the auditorium and had seven minutes to present their product and business management using PowerPoint. I had an esteemed panel of four judges judging the students across on six categories:
- Innovation and creativity of the product
- Interpretation of market study
- Business Plan
Sometime after noon the dust had settled, the scores had been tallied, and we were ready to announce the winners. None of my teams won, but the winners do seem like very motivated and intelligent students who will represent León wonderfully at the national competition in Managua in November. Here is a list of all of the teams and who won:
- Rice flour (first place and most creative product)
- Natural teeth whitener (second place)
- Games for children with mental disabilities, such as Downes Syndrome (third place)
- Dragon fruit sucking candies
- Gel bleach that does not stain clothes
- Surprise eggs
- Natural insect repellent (their teacher is our tour guide from Momotombo, Profe Cristobal)
- Pizza with eggplant
- Natural medicine tea
- Soy butter with garlic
- Shoe polish made with plantain peel
I’d like to thank all of the other Volunteers that helped me out: Joanna, Isabel, Matt, Jennifer, and my department buddies, Nick and Conrad. Without their help we all would have been drinking very warm soda.