New Partnership between Dons Net Cafe and Escuela Agricola de San Francisco

By Dyan Bomer on Oct 18, 2014 at 10:43 AM in Business Partner Activities

SKYPE2Paraguay Paraguay1

The Dons Net Cafe Skyped with students from the Escuela Agricola San Francisco in Luque, Paraguay for the first time on 10-16-2014.  These two student led ventures met through an introduction by TOMS Shoes.   The Dons Net Café has long admired TOMS Shoes and their “one for one” (buy one give one) gifting of shoes to those in need.  Escula Agricola also believes in TOMS and is a gifting partner and recipient of shoes.

The Dons Net Café asked for the opportunity to tour TOMS and present to them their ideas for product development, our favorite; a Roots & Shoots shoe line.  Permission was granted and TOMS Shoes directors were so impressed with the Dons Net Café model of social entrepreneurship that they felt that the Escuela Agricola and the Dons Net Café would be a perfect match to form a partnership together and the introduction was made.

Another group that we both have in common is Junior Achievement. The Escuela de Agricola enages with their program development program and the Dons Net Cafe completes the JA Economics program with our mentor Chris Morales of Montecito Bank & Trust.  

The SKYPE event started out a little slow, it was new, it was different, even a little awkward.  No one knew what to expect but everyone was excited!  The Dons Net Café teache,r, Mrs. B. introduced Maddy Mender, who will be in charge of this DNC new venture with Paraguay.  Maddie is a senior member of Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and also, along with Elizabeth Avila, a member of the Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council.  Maddie and her team will be writing a business plan to present next year at the UCLA Project Echo business plan competition.  The Dons Net Café has been very successful in writing business plans, starting new ventures, and winning competitions around the United States.

Maddie started out with the topic of the partnership itself and what it would look like and what products we could sell.  All students had aspirations to develop a product which both the DNC and the Escuela Agricola could sell while helping their communities in both countries. With the help of a rising Dons Net Café student, Elizabeth Aguilar, as translator, both businesses were able to make introductions and began to warm up to each other.  There were a lot of laughs and excitement as we began to share and to see that each were truly interested in working with each other and “doing some good in the world” which is now our chosen slogan.  Everyone, including our mentors; Lee Knodel (Mrs. B.) and Marie-Clair Burt, were very happy as we discussed our goals and dreams.

Elizabeth introduced them to the Dons Net Café’s ventures including Roots and Shoots, SBici (bike repair/recycling), VITA (free tax preparation), Du Ubuntu (Orphan Bracelet Campaign), and XS Project (recycled bags made from trash). The Escuela was very impressed with XS project and would like to create bags like theirs for themselves and perhaps for us to sell.  Furthermore, The Dons Net Cafe was equally if not more impressed with the craftsmanship in their handmade earrings, place mats, vases, recycled material lamps, and soon to be wallets.  As the Escuela was explaining their prices for the students at the DNC, they had a shocked face when they realized the dramatic price differences between countries.  There would be a lot to learn about each other’s currencies; already we know that as people, we are the same.

Some of our long term goals that both the DNC and the Escuela Agricola concluded were to potentially make an Orphanage in Paraguay, and have both the DNC and the Escuela visit each other’s countries.

Towards the end, one of the students stated that they didn’t want to go to college but just wanted to run this business.  After much discussion and laughter it was concluded that we needed good people, with knowledge who also want to do good, not just make money for themselves.  So we all agree, off to college we will go.

This brings the DNC and the Escuela Agricola San Francisco at a point to create an amazing international business where the possibilities are endless.