In October of 2017, our team of 4 was assigned the Innovation for Humanity project of improving the socio-economic status of Lircay, a small town in Peru and benchmark long-term growth against the Human Development Index (HDI). After running with several ideas and suggestions, we narrowed our primary focus on education, which we knew would be the most impactful factor on social and economic growth. The idea that we would make an impact and improve the quality of life of people living in Lircay excited us.
Our sponsor, Mr. Rafael Fernandez of the UDEA-Fundades Group, provided us insight into the background of Lircay and what they were aiming to achieve from this project. In collaboration with Fundades, a private non‐profit organization in Lima, Peru and The Universidad para el Desarrollo Andino (UDEA) in Lircay, Peru, our deliverables were formulated. We developed a 3-phase project plan to execute and implement practical solutions and provide supporting material to ensure economic sustainability.
Unfortunately, a major turn of events occurred in December when 2 of our team members could not continue with the project. Our team of 4 was now a team of 2. We discussed amongst ourselves and with our professor, Dr. Calvin, on the strategy to move forward and decided that we would continue the project as a team of 2 regardless of the setback. On conveying the same to our sponsor, he was receptive to our plan and encouraged us based on the work he had seen in the past 2 months.
From the U.S., my remaining teammate Yuvaksh and I conducted literature research along with several rounds of discussions with our client, which led us to recommend that people between the age 24-35 should start their own businesses as they would be optimistic about entrepreneurship and have a higher acceptance rate of technology. This will, in the long-term, boost the economy of Lircay. Our hypothesis was that people in this age group are motivated to start their own business but lack the formal knowledge to do so.
We went to the on-shore office in Lima to gather more information and to understand how business is done in Peru. We were supposed to travel to Lircay and conduct surveys and interviews with focus groups and collect data on their motivation for starting their own business. However, due to logistical issues, we were unable to do so. We then decided to execute plan B and decided to gather data through University Del Pacifico students present in Lircay. These students were trained by us over multiple Skype sessions on how to conduct the survey. After successfully conducting the survey, the students sent the survey data to us. On conducting qualitative analysis of the data using a specialized data analytics tool—Tableau—we found the hypothesis to be true and recommended setting up an entrepreneurship program.
We interpreted the motivational factors that encourage people in Lircay to pursue higher education. In addition, we delivered a presentation, developed educational materials for the entrepreneurship workshop, a preliminary report of findings and recommendations, and provided our client with a solution that will sustain the progress. The entrepreneurship program was well received by our clients who are going to implement it in June. All of the above recommendations will bring about socio-economic growth in Lircay in the medium to long-term.
We loved our experience in Peru and working with the team and UDEA and Groupo Fundades. We enjoyed the hospitality and indulged in the gastronomic experience of Lima. We learned about the Peruvian culture and the subcultures in both Lima and Lircay and look forward to continue supporting our sponsors, Ms. Yuri Kitsutani, Mr. Rafael Fernandez, and Ms. Ines Garaycochea, and wish them the best for a successful launch of the Entrepreneurship Workshop and the English language class.