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Low-income families overcome unemployment and economic crisis through small business creation

Graduate business in the Philippines
The Academy for Creating Enterprise

Sometimes all that is needed to make a difference is a little perspective.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reports there were over 20 million unemployment claims filed in the United States, more than the past several years combined. It was and is a time of hardship for many, even here in Utah.

However, as bad as it has been in the U.S., other countries around the world were even more affected. The Philippines, for example, where the World Bank reports that nearly 40% of the population makes only two dollars a day, was devastated. Businesses shut down overnight, and with little savings, many people have faced life or death circumstances.

For many in developing countries, starting a business is the key to survival. The Academy for Creating Enterprise, with programs in eight countries, has been making a difference in peoples’ lives.

The Academy’s mission

According to their mission statement, the Academy strives to “ ... help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others in developing countries launch and grow successful businesses that lift families out of poverty and put them firmly on the path to self-reliance.” Academy members have been able to provide for their families as they have applied the principles taught in the Academy programs.

Honing their program for more than 21 years, The Academy has helped over 41,000 people rise from poverty into lives of stability and self-reliance, with over 5,000 businesses started in the last 12 months.

Academy training in Venezuela
The Academy for Creating Enterprise

Success stories

With more than 41,000 graduates in eight countries, people all over the world are taking control of their income and finding success. Here are a few highlights from the last year.

Leydi Alcalde and her animal food business

After separating from her husband, and with four daughters in tow, Leydi Alcalde knew she had to provide for her family, but it wasn’t going to come easy. A few months later Leydi was in an accident that took one of her legs and the life of her second daughter, Shelleen. Depression sank in, and Leydi needed a boost. She began taking courses through The Academy, and life started to change, even amid a pandemic.

“... I feel grateful that I have made sales, despite my lack of tools. The Academy helped me develop a self-reliant mindset. This mindset sustains me through all the ups and downs of my business. The Academy has taught me to develop new relationships, marketing plans (even without a computer), and most importantly, how to create new bio-security protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Since adapting to these circumstances, Leydi participated in the Academy’s awards programs and has done well. “I feel very blessed that I received an award in the Top 5 for the Young Business category. I received 800 soles (250 dollars) and will use the award winnings to help grow my business!” she said.

Noreen Beja and her clothing retailer

From the Philippines, Noreen Beja, a retail clothing store owner was immediately displaced in her business by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knowing it would be difficult to sell her clothes, she used her materials and skill in sewing to make cloth face masks. This principle, taught by the Academy as “sell what the market will buy,” proved invaluable for Noreen’s business and livelihood.

Noreen posted an online announcement about her product and has since been inundated with inquiries and orders.

Richard Alfornon and his car wash

Another success story from the Philippines is Richard Alfornon and his car wash business in Cebu. Once the pandemic struck Cebu, Richard knew his business could be in trouble, especially with only a few cars on the road.

Implementing one of the business principles learned in The Academy, Richard was able to differentiate his business enough to still earn a living by finding a portable disinfecting machine to show customers his business could ensure high levels of hygiene and disinfectant to stop the spread of the virus.

“I try to cope well with this virus challenge so that my car wash business could still generate even small income. I plan also to try and offer a service of disinfecting homes of willing homeowners using this machine,” he said.

How to be involved

The Academy for Creating Enterprise is a 501(c)3 global non-profit and it needs your help to expand its reach to more families in need in developing countries.

If you want to help those in developing countries create their own income on their path to self-reliance, please consider donating here. Donations are what have provided over 41,000 graduates with the principles needed to start their own business, and are what will continue The Academy’s support of their self-reliance goals.