Partnering with the “PROOMNIA” association, Fazendo do Mundo Um Lugar Melhor (FMULM) offers a dynamic economic empowerment program, providing a bridge between technical skills and successful business startups for aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages, all from low-income areas.
FMULM began working with Prof. Evandro Lepletier several years ago. He had initially created the PROOMNIA association with the goal of providing training in evaluating possible business opportunities for individuals from low-income areas. However, due to lack of funding the project sat on the shelf for several years, until a partnership was formed with FMULM. An incubator office was then established in mid-2011 in downtown Brasilia.
The pilot program was launched at a vocational school run by a partner organization in Ceilândia, a township outside of Brasilia. This facility offers technical skills training to close to 600 students, and FMULM realized that the Introduction to Business course could be the veritable link between a student having a skill and opening their own profitable business. And so the first Introduction to Business course was born.
The course itself is divided into two parts; the first comprises lectures on business administration and marketing. Part two includes a workshop where students form small groups to brainstorm and draw up plans for opening a small business. The business development plans are then presented to the entire class.
Once the six-week course is completed, the graduates are offered the chance to open their own business at PROOMNIA’s down-town office incubator. Graduates have the opportunity to receive ongoing guidance and mentoring while growing their business. Additionally, access to PROOMNIA’s micro-lending program provides these new entrepreneurs with the startup capital needed to propel them forward on the path to financial growth and sustainability.
The first semester produced 22 enthusiastic graduates, all hailing from the disadvantaged township area of Ceilândia. Through empowering hardworking and self-motivated individuals with training, mentoring and the resources to get their small businesses off the ground, their lives are forever changed for the better and as a result the community is being positively impacted.
FMULM continues to offer this free course to an average of 15-20 young entrepreneurs per semester and hopes to continue to expand the program and resources offered, as additional needs are identified.