May 13, 2005

Young entrepreneur fair in Tijuana

By Luis Alonso Pérez

The new generations of Tijuana students are capable of developing innovative business projects, good enough to compete in regional markets with well established companies, they just need a good product, a hard working team, a creative strategy and the support from their schools. This type of support was displayed at the CETYS young entrepreneur fair, last May 3, in Tijuana’s city hall.

More than 32 business projects where displayed in the event, all of them created by college and high school students from Tijuana’s CETYS university. Everyone of them competed in nine categories like best product, best marketing campaign, most innovative product, best logo, among others.

Since early in the morning students began to arrive to City Hall to put up their stands and to promote their products. A diverse range of products and services where presented by the young businessmen and women, which included cell phone accessories, exfoliating creams, cheese tortillas, t-shirts, Mexican handicrafts and beauty salons, just to name a few.

Buscando una sonrisa project: Alejandra Ramirez, Brenda Levy and Shantal Martínez.

One of the companies created by college students goes by the name Filete, and it’s a franchise scheme focused on the meat market, which began as the final project for a franchise subject in the business management mayor.

According to Alfio Gritti –an Italian exchange student and co-founder of Filete– the project was developed little by little, “during its development we got together with our teacher every week, in the end we have a product that has been well guided and examined”.

Rene Guevara –another team member– said “we believe that many small meat producers and butcher shops are well known within the local market, but never reach high profits or expand beyond their hometowns.” Their franchise scheme impulses butcher shops and small meat producers through training, financing and doing business among them.”

But this project will not disappear after receiving a final grade. According to Yanina Orozco –the third team member– their plan is to open their first butcher shop in Tecate, “that way we can begin our own franchise, and through the work experience in our own store we can improve the production and quality standards, as well as operation, training and marketing operation manuals, so butcher shops that decide to buy our brand can position their stores with the recognition and trust our brand will develop”.

One of the most creative projects in the fair was Luxbo, a brand dedicated to handcraft work, which consists in turning old bottles into decorative lamps. Their company was created as a part of a high school business management class and according to its creators has been very well accepted; however they are still undecided on continuing with the project, because they are a few weeks from graduating.

One of the most outstanding projects is Buscando una Sonrisa (looking for a smile), a company dedicated to philanthropic and social work for Esperanza Foundation, a non profit organization and orphanage in Tijuana. The four high school students which founded the project have been able to obtain donations and financing from local businesses; they have also organized recreational and cultural activities for the children and accomplished voluntary participation from their schoolmates and friends.

This sort of fairs show that new generations of entrepreneurs can go very far if they have creativity, hard work and support.

Today’s youth projects can turn into the businesses and franchises of the future, creating new jobs and improving local economies, which are losing ground to big corporations and turning college graduates into employees in stead of letting them aspire to become their own bosses.

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