Student helps to run support center in Mexico

| Michaela Nesvarova

UT graduate Nadiezdha Crespo helped to establish a community center in her home country of Mexico. In this center, creative people from the base of the pyramid can start up their own company.

While studying bachelor´s program of International Business administration at the University of Twente, Nadiezdha was actively involved in the PC3 project, focused on alleviating poverty in developing countries. During this involvement, she helped to establish and run the community center.

Please tell us about the project.

´As a part of PC3 project and my bachelor´s thesis, I helped to establish a support center in a Mexican town called San Agustin Calvario. A group of mostly elderly people would meet in this center twice a week to create hand-made products. We had about 26 participants, who consisted of local elderly people and a small group of younger women.

The project was a collaboration of UT, Mexican university of Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla (BUAP) and the local people. My main role was to coach the locals, teach them different skills and help them with creating a business plan, so the center can become sustainable.´

How is this project related to PC3?

´PC3 for BoP (Product Co-creation Center for the Base of the Pyramid) is an initiative that aims to create specialized support centers, where creative people from the base of the pyramid can start up their own company. We started the community center project last September and my primary goal was to implement the PC3 elements that were developed at that time. I implemented the business and economic elements of PC3 to see how they work in real life and to find out which social elements should be added to the overall PC3 model.´

What is the main purpose of the community center?

´First of all, it helps to create social cohesion among the people. It gives them a space to interact with others. Working and socializing makes them feel as an essential part of the community. The second purpose of this initiative is a source of income, especially for the younger participants. Thanks to the fact that I was there to teach them and help them with the business plan, they are now able to apply for government subsidy and continue with the project.´

What products do people make in this center?

´They were focusing on making ecological bags. They were involved in all the steps of creating the product – design, cutting, painting etc. Because the people were not well educated, they needed help with all of these things.´

What are the most important elements of running such a project?

´You need a lot of patience and altruism for it. It is also extremely important to establish a close relationship with the local people. If we don´t understand their culture, their needs and wants, we cannot run a social project.

The main idea behind PC3 and this project is to create an entrepreneurial mindset. We hope that success of one group will inspire other people from the same environment to pursue their own business ideas.´