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Diego Gallon

Company: Small Business Development, Peace Corps

Summary: Focusing on the small business development sector in Nicaragua, Diego is making a difference and creating a whole new generations of entrepreneurs

After graduating from Berry, Diego (Mgt, '08) joined the Peach Corps focusing on the Small Business Development sector in Nicaragua, Central America. Diego is working to train teachers (to make the curriculum sustainable) and students in an Entrepreneurship course (The Creative Business) recently adapted (with the encouragement and hard work of Peace Corps Nicaragua) by the Nicaraguan ministry of education. Nicaragua faces many challenges. Most of the population lives on under $2 per day making the country the 2nd poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere (After Haiti) In addition many business owners lack basic business knowledge & skills.  

Diego’s Peace Corps Projects

Project 1. Through a course called “The Creative Business,” students are trained to form small businesses.  Throughout the year, they begin with idea-generation, conduct market research, and complete a business-plan in small groups, including creating an actual proto-type of the product and/or selling the product. The photos show some of the students with the result of their hard work. After the course, some groups continue with the businesses. Five high schools in the region are involved in the program. In addition, Diego works with several secondary projects and small business owners (mostly rural coffee/agro-business) with needs such as general business advising, marketing, access to markets, cooperatives, etc.)     

Project 2. Diego is also working with a US-based NGO, ISLA on a budget to rebuild one of his rural schools which has been falling apart while he teaches. As the Nicaraguan Government has been unable to allocate funds for the project, this collaboration will hopefully complement the Small Project Assistance grant that Diego is seeking via USAID. 

Other Activities. As an immediate follow-up from a previous volunteer, Diego is reaching out to the local community and has taken on a number of projects. The largest is preparation for the Local and Regional business competitions.  In addition, he is preparing the 500 students as they try and put together their final business plans and commence production and sales of their products.   

Where in Nicaragua is Diego?

For sustainability purposes, the current Nicaragua Small Business project is strategically planned on a 6-year basis. Nevertheless, each site is reviewed regularly, with regards to opportunities for future follow-up by future volunteers.  Diego is working Jalapa, Nueva Segovia. Only 4 km from the Honduran border, Jalapa is situated in a mountainous region where coffee, tobacco, bean, and rice production abound.  With 65,000 inhabitants living in the municipality and 25,000 living within the city limits, Jalapa is a relatively large town, but due to poor infrastructure, still feels very rural. Additionally, the city and its surrounding northern communities served as the heart of the bloodiest and most trial some areas during the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980s.  Due to its geographic location, the area has had a hard time reintegrating with the rest of the country.  
 

How we can help?

Diego is working hard to raise funds for three local business competitions in the communities of Teotecacinte, El Limón, and Jalapa.  Moreover, The 5 top scoring teams will then compete in the Regional High School “The Creative Business” (LEC) competition in October, held in the Department Capital city of Ocotal. He is seeking donations to support this part of the project.  Donations to the National Institute of Jalapa will go to the following: Refreshments, publicity, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes for the local competitions and round-trip travel to the Regional competitions in Ocotal for the 40 students competing in October.  This is the 2nd annual LEC competition. 

The youth are excited and highly motivated and Diego is ecstatic about being able to facilitate their great endeavor into the business world!

Please send checks to:

Mailing Address:

Diego Gallón

1281 Asbury Mill Rd.  

Cleveland, GA, 30528


 

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