Technology isn’t the answer for everybody who dreams of opening a small business. In developing countries, coming up with low-tech products local neighbors need and use can be a great way to get into making some cash. Ten young entrepreneurs in Laos have some-down-to-earth ideas that have won them honors, up to five thousand dollars in seed money, and mentoring, courtesy of The World Bank and two other sponsors.
Half of the people in Laos ares under 20 years old. So, The World Bank is especially interested in getting them started now – especially young women. The Bank wants to encourage the young and ambitious who have ideas that will create companies, and jobs, that’ll expand the nation’s economy and make everyday life easier in Laos.
Hmong Handicrafts: This is a project aimed at bringing the pattern-making and weaving skills of the ethnic group of Hmong women onto the market, both in Laos and beyond its borders. The women will share their skills, learn new styles, and get business coaching to make money from their crafts. These are the winning ideas of Ms. Noimaniphone Lorbiayao.
Got Goats? For some people – there’s nothing better than cooking up some spicy curry goat. In Laos, its goat that’s popular at festivals and celebrations. It’s the culinary choice of lots of Laotians. One young woman is confident she’s going to figure out a way to raise so man goats that she will have enough business and marketing skills to supply her products to the entire country of Laos. The winner: Ms. Chanthalith Khamvongsa.
OTHER WINNING IDEAS
A small business to make Thatch roof tiles, popular for building in Laos.
A small business that will do away with pesticides and grow strawberries organically.
A small business to make sesame seed oil – used from cooking food to massage therapy.
A small business creating 3-D art pieces from office paper scraps.
A small business sewing handbags made from local cloth – 10% of profits going to disadvantaged women.
The World Bank has the biggest name but isn’t the only backer in this second, annual competition. AusAid and the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Laos (YEAL) were sponsors, too.
Congratulations to the young winners – and may your small businesses grow as big as your dreams!