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Girls enter final stage of our new “Beads-to-Business” curriculum

This year, we have completed multiple versions of a new business workbook for the beading workshops. We’ve named this portion of the Emerge Bead Program the “Beads-to-Business” curriculum (which is paired with the life skills curriculum that we also teach on a different day of the week). This workbook incorporates all of the previous instruction that we gave the girls about jewelry techniques and how to run the shop and the bank at our workshops; it also includes a new section that takes this knowledge base and uses it to teach girls about business. Our first version had five stages but, based on feedback from the girls and others, we’ve recently altered it to be three stages. At the end of each stage, each girl receives a certificate.

We are very excited to have some of our first girls officially entering the final stage of our new “Beads-to-Business” workbook and we wanted to share some of their designs with you (above)! But, to give you a greater understanding of what the girls are doing, let me outline the three stages below:

Stage 1 When girls enter the program they have a quick orientation with Nirukshi and peer mentors. We get their information and give them information about how workshops are run. They learn to make all of the Emerge products and concentrate initially on this production. When girls have finished 3 of each type of Emerge product they move on to the next stage. Usually this takes at least 6 weeks. Stage 2 In the second stage girls become leaders in the workshop. Each girl learns how to run the shop, keep records at the bank, and guide newer girls as a mentor. This leadership process incorporates girls of all skill levels. If girls can’t read and write they have options to help out with the shop and bank while working on literacy skills. Girls have to do each role (shopkeeper, banker, and mentor) 3 times before they can move on, so they spend at least 9 weeks in stage 2, continuing to produce jewelry (and savings) as they go. Stage 3 In the third stage, girls learn about starting a business. They design their own product and build a business around it, learning about pricing, budgeting, marketing and more. Considering how many of our girls go on to run small enterprises on the side, this is good practice for their futures. The second part of stage 3 (which may become a separate ‘stage 4’ in our next version of the curriculum) allows girls to plan a business that is not related to jewelry design so that they understand how to apply the skills they’ve learned in a variety of ways. For the girls who recently entered this stage, we’ve noticed that they seem to favor simple patterns and dangling strands. We brought in a design book though which is helping them branch out and dream big. I’m excited to see more designs in the future! The girls make two versions of their product. After creating their first piece, they get feedback both from a friend and an adult and incorporate this feedback into designing the second piece. Before designing the ‘improved’ second piece, they also work through a series of questions to help them think through whether it is a viable product for them to sell. Here are some examples of the types of questions we ask them:

  • What will your product be made from?

  • How much will it cost you to make one piece? One hundred?

  • How much will it sell for? Who will you sell it to? Where will you sell it?

  • How much profit will you earn per piece?

  • How much will you need to live when you leave the home and how many pieces of jewelry will you need to make to meet this need?

  • What will your logo look like?

  • How will you finance your venture?

Each business concept has its own page where the girls learn about the topic, are given examples and space to fill in their own business ideas.

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