Submitted by: Zamorano University
Implemented country: Honduras
Title: A New Business Model for „Green“ Micro Companies
Zamorano University was looking for a new and innovative project The university already had experience with starting up micro-companies, but only in the area of rural development and agriculture, so they decided to try something new. Many people in the vicinity of the university still don’t have access to electricity and proper cooking facilities, so why not start a micro-company in the area of renewable energies? Opportunity was sought to implement this project. Training was offered not only in technical fields but also in business management in order to make energy production sustainable as well as to safeguard the companies’ existence.
The project began in 2010. The first obstacle was finding suitable micro-entrepreneurs for training according to the principle of “learning by doing“. Trainees were required to complete five training modules involving installing and operating new stoves, solar systems, biogas, nano and hydro systems, business strategy, and creating business plans. After having completed each module, trainees started their own micro-business and offered their services in the renewable energies sector. They set high standards for themselves. People needed to be convinced that using renewable energy sources will help safeguard their well-being as well as that of the environment, which resulted in a high degree of acceptance.
Since then, 25 students have graduated and received a Renewable Energy Business diploma. They are now active in their line of business, paying off their micro-loans and receiving continued support, for example through providing their services to local showcase projects. Five schools and 300 households with a total of 1800 direct beneficiaries are being supplied with electricity.
The project’s general approach as well as the methods were well chosen, which is proven by the project’s success. By the end of October, 3343 people will be profiting from this project - 1800 people more than originally planned. 79 trainees are receiving training, 26 of them women. María Alejandra, who is in charge of the project, has a degree in social economics and environmental and sustainability management. She has shown a lot of courage in implementing this project because you can never know what happens once you begin changing existing structures. María Alejandra works for the university and is single.
"I love to learn. I think that my major motto in live is learn to teach."
María Alejandra Claure Oviedo