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Nicaragua: Business Development Project

  |   news, nicaragua   |   No comment

For the past three weeks, a team of four MIIS graduate students on the west coast has been working remotely with Spark on an intense amount of research, in what is quickly growing to be the foundation of blue prints for a social enterprise that we’ll be developing with our second partner, Las Tías. Among many, some of the main things they’ve been looking at include Nicaragua’s recent history and current context, targeting sectors with the fastest economic growth, and assessing business opportunities along with their potential challenges.

The task at hand, by all means, is a complex one. As an organization, we’re looking to develop and launch a profitable business in one of the two poorest countries in the western hemisphere. The investment we’re targeting to make is a fairly specific one, with the profitability goals tied to progressively offsetting our partner organization’s operational expenses, until such time that they’re fully sustainable and funded by the business profits.

Many important questions arise. Some of the big ones have to do with the target industry and its projected growth, the risks involved, type of customer the business will seek to attract, and whether it’ll be a business that offers services or products for domestic use- or whether exports should be considered.

Another exciting inquiry will have to do with making a determination with regards to entering a growing market by either modifying the target offering to make it new and innovative, or packing it (literally or figuratively) in such a way that it attracts a brand new type of consumer. In business school this is referred to as a blue ocean strategy, with the famous example of Cirque du Soleil entering the circus market and revolutionizing the way we experience the circus and what we consider it to be. Some say that after Cirque entered the market, it changed it so much where all other forms of circus have become outdated and no one has been able to compete at the Cirque du Soleil level yet.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. What is just as important as what the ultimate decision on the business investment will be is the research and business development process, and the level of collaboration that it will take. In two weeks I’ll be packing my bags and taking off for Nicaragua to meet with the Spark business team and our partners in what will be a series of meetings, discussions, and idea exchanges. Till next time…

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