Keeping business in Nicaragua


It is tourist season in Nicaragua. Many good people from North America come to enjoy the sun, others come to see different ministries and lend a helping hand. I often hear the same questions mixed in with a commentary about Nicaragua, "Why don't they just.... (fill in the blank)?" It is easy to think you have solutions during a two week visit. I am guilty of the same mentality, born and raised in the United States, I can share the same 'Why don't they just...?" attitude. However, I knew my stay in Nicaragua would be much longer than two weeks and so it was time to not ask questions, but listen. When I was in my early twenties an old Tool & Die journeyman, Mr. Terpstra, once asked me in the same commentary styled question, "Jesse, you can't listen with your mouth open can you?" I never asked many questions of Mr. Terpstra again, I just listened, watched and learned!


AECNIC's Business Mind!
I was recently able to facilitate a business model canvas with the Asociación de Empresarios Cristianos de Nicaragua, AECNIC (Association of Christian Entrepreneurs of Nicaragua). This canvas took all morning to create and complete with the board of directors. It was a very fun and inspiring morning for the board, and me too! Many of the questions I have held onto were answered that morning. Now, I can share with you a small portion of what I learned from these business men and women of Nicaragua, Central America.

Finding Solutions
AECNIC shared many Christian entrepreneurs in Nicaragua have problems developing their business. There is a lack of business planning and execution of projects. There is small or short sighted vision for their businesses and lives. There are many barriers to the banking systems and credit in Nicaragua. Loan interest rates are high. When you receive training and capital from government agencies they require commitments. These agencies require you to be at community fairs whether it’s good for your business or not, including political events.

Many Benefits within AECNIC
Business owners can have very expensive debts in their businesses because of the lack of investment capital. They can’t be self-sustainable due to debt. People believe their business and spirituality oppose one another. They lack Christian support, fellowship, and prayer.

One of their problems I heard that really made me understand their struggle, when AECNIC members said Nicaraguans leave their country to seek better opportunities and money. I thought more about the consequences of this, the potential impact on the country. In my opinion, this could mean the individuals with the best minds, desire and tenacity for business have left their country. It takes a lot of determination and focus to pick up and leave your family, friends and home. Individuals have to adapt and solve problems effectively to live outside their home country. Perhaps this is what causes some of those problems in the previous paragraphs?

Teamwork
The Association of Christian Entrepreneurs of Nicaragua shared their values as Christian entrepreneurs for their compatriots.

Their Solution! 
  • A faith that is alive! Place God in your family, church projects to strengthen them. Seek God first instead of banks or others for their capital needs. 
Their Benefits!
  • AECNIC is walking voluntarily with God. Offering our businesses to God will increase client wealth and well being. We have a Biblical Worldview of finance and technology. Our members will benefit from financial peace!  
Their Advantage! 
  • Abilities to reach success by God’s hands. Given the ability to see what we want and be joyful as Christian entrepreneurs. 
  •  We have the hand and power of God, God has given us this power. We are not all beggars. We too can give people what they need to live. 
This group has a faith that is strong and contagious! Spending the morning with them and watching them create their business model was inspiring! Soon they will be bringing in new members, and helping to keep their business people at home in Nicaragua! 

A special thank you to CO.STARTERS for letting us use their canvas! 

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