Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spanish & Entrepreneurship Student Uses Fellowship to Start a Micro-lending Program in Guatemala

by guest blogger Darcy Lear

In my last post, I wrote about Morgan Abbott, a Spanish & Entrepreneurship student, and her work in Africa. If you're like me, the question you are asking is "Africa!? In Spanish & Entrepreneurship?"

Morgan's experience in my Spanish & Entrepreneurship course showed me how important it is to open up the service-learning placement list to students' own projects and passions. I missed the tremendous opportunity to be her faculty mentor because I had not extended that offer to her class. But the next semester I taught Spanish & Entrepreneurship, I was sure to correct that mistake.

In the fall 2009 semester, I had two students take me up on the offer to pursue their own community service-learning placements. One was Santiago Beltrán (pictured here). Santiago received the Entrepreneurial Public Service Fellowship award that he will use this summer to start a micro-loan program in La Limonada, Guatemala City, Guatemala. His community partners are Lemonade International and Fundación Micros Guatemala.

Like most entrepreneurs, Santiago works tirelessly on his project--always moving from one thing to the next. And even though I was careful to seize the opportunity to be his faculty mentor, I have to admit I have trouble keeping up with his progress. This is just one of the recent grant proposals that he wrote for the community partner organization he started with when he was in my Spanish & Entrepreneurship seminar:

The Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) is a microfinance initiative that
offers small loans, savings opportunities, and financial services to
qualified individuals who are homeless or at risk of experiencing
homelessness, in order to advance employment and entrepreneurship
opportunities and help them achieve economic stability.

CEF is in the running for the $50,000 Dell Social Innovation Grant, and we
need your help! Please take two minutes to get on the Dell website,
register, and vote! Forward this to friends! :)

1. Visit the Competition Website:
2. Register: (Box to the right) and create a username and password
3. Search: CEF
4. Click: Promote!


Please take a moment to support Santi's work following Muhammad Yunus' footsteps in the world of microfinance!

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