Multi-service shop at Bella Vista Village

Humana People to People Belize (HPPBZ) is a non-governmental organization established in 2007 that seeks to engage youths, ages 18 to 35, in a social business that trains vulnerable youth to develop and operate a shop that offers – residents and visitors from Bella Vista Village in Toledo District - baking products, snacks and processed goods; created by local artisans and from low-income producers with a Fair-Trade shopping section. The business will also offer residents – especially youth – a safe place to socialize and do homework with free internet, as well as a place to learn to bake and cook nutritious meals. HPPBZ is a local NGO that will provide technical assistance to youths in the setup and management of the venture. The organization will play the role of a technical partner that does not profit from the sales.
Name
Pantaleon
Last name
Escobar
At what stage is your proposal?
Idea phase
What category/categories do you want to address with your idea?
Employment
Describe the need or problem you want to address
Bella Vista – like most rural villages in the country - has limited work sources. This forces youth and adults to commute out of their community to work in the tourism and agriculture sector or makes them migrate to bigger cities and abroad in search of jobs in other industries. Youth interested in attending high-school and higher levels of education are also required to leave their village, every day, to study, and most are driven to abandon their studies to work or take care of their family. Given the conditions of high unemployment, low school enrolment and already high adolescent fertility rates, youth in Belize are prone to engage on gang affiliation as well as risky sexual behaviors (15%) that increase the risk of HIV infections, early pregnancies (12%) and underage marriages (20%). Bella Vista not only shares these statistics but also has underage prostitution and domestic violence cases. Although many of these issues could be avoided if the youth had more parental supervision and safe spaces to spend their time and study; this is not the case for the targeted village as most parents are working outside Bella Vista and there are limited safe spaces in the surroundings. For example, the community has no coffee shops and very few internet cafes and sports fields. As such, marginalization and exclusion significantly impact youth contributions to positive social change, and the capacity to escape poverty. The venture will address the issues mentioned above by not only employing youth but by training them on the management and operation of a broad-spectrum business. Furthermore, several surveys implemented by HPPBZ to project participants, have repetitively shown their interest in learning to make baked goods and nutritious meals. Also, personalized cakes have high demand in Central America, as culturally people make use of them often for special events. Traditionally, indigenous and migrant families consume mostly corn, beans, rice, and pumpkin and do not complement their diet with other nutritious foods; this is generally due to a lack of knowledge about nutrition. However, HPPBZ lacks a kitchen where to offer periodic training to the population.Most farmers, artisans and small-scale producers do not have to access distribution channels to sell their products. The project will make its goods with locally-produced materials and will have a section where handicrafts, clothing, local food goods, and natural beauty products can be sold at fair prices.
What is the main product or service you will offer?
The venture will offer:Baked goods, including bread, cookies and personalized cakes for parties and events.Frozen, cold and hot coffee drinks and bubble tea, both with different flavors.Snacks - to eat at the premises or to take to go - such as sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos, nachos, among others.Baking and cooking classes.Additionally, costumers will be able to make use of free-Wi-Fi on the premises for leisure as well as to study.
Briefly describe the community or population that will benefit from your solution and how do you plan to involve them in the project
Bella Vista Village is a fast-growing rural settlement in southern Belize with over 7,000 residents with high-rates of migrant populations who fleeted other countries in Central America in search of a more peaceful life. Like most rural villages in Belize, a significant portion of the population is living below the poverty line and has reduced access to services and sources of employment, low levels of educational attainment, insufficient infrastructure, and limited resilience capacity. Bella Vista is on the highway and only road to the remaining villages and towns in the southernmost end of Belize.The village has two bakeries, few providers that bake cakes from home and no coffee shops. The venture will give residents, especially youth, a safe place to meet while providing locally-produced bread, personalized cakes and other baked goods and food while buying locally produced products. Through its community development projects, HPPBZ promotes organic vegetable production and animal husbandry systems that are built and managed collectively by students, women, and subsistence farmers groups - at the household, school, and communal settings. Project participants will be encouraged to sell their produce - such as eggs, fruits and vegetables - to the venture. The shop will also have a product display section that will market, at fair prices, processed goods from HPPBZ’s project participants and other producers living under the poverty line. As a result, the shop will unite community networks by opening possibilities for income-generation and entrepreneurship development. Additionally, all residents, regardless of their demographics, will be able to acquire the goods and services offered and will be further involved when participating in baking classes. Additionally, residents from other villages - especially the ones living south from Bella Vista and tourists passing by - will be able conveniently pass by the shop during their travels. The youths involved in setting up and managing the venture - who come from vulnerable backgrounds - will be the ones that are most involved in the project. Together with the project team, they will decide the menu and classes to be offered, sales strategies, overall operations, and venture expansion plans. Social media ads, printed materials and door-to-door visits will be carried out to inform about job vacancies of the project.
Does your proposal have a business model (i.e. strategy to generate revenue)? Please describe
Revenue will be created by a) the sales of food, b) fees collected from workshops and c) commissions earned from the sales products from the Fair-Trade section. Income will be used to pay for the salaries of youths and all operations costs. The surplus will serve to upkeep the space rented in Bella Vista Village as well as to improve services and expand the venture into new territories.The shop will be open at least six days a week, early in the morning to provide residents with bread and until 7 or 8 pm, to accommodate people returning from their work and studies during the day.
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