From all opportunities that AIESEC provides for those who want to be entrepreneurs, probably “projects” is the way where entrepreneurship can be handled more directly and with an effective approach. This is the story of a sucessful project of AIESEC Uninorte/Colombia and what inspired them to bring their dreams to reality.
“ABACUS is a project based on exchange that aims to promote between students and recent graduates the issue of entrepreneurship as a simple mechanism to actively participate in business environments, as well as to develop inthem the needed skills and abilities to have an strategic thinking in order to become professionals with a wide range of action in the decision making process. This initiative was in 2007 by a group of AIESECers from the city of Barranquilla in Colombia, a country that faces a common problem in today’s world: high rates of unemployment, especially among the youth, something that as future professionals worried us significantly. Through our project, we aim to change the popular thinking in young people of finishing the University and looking for a job in a big company. We want to help our members to understand the business world and be part of it by taking their ideas and starting the process of bringing them to life by using the correct tools and information available. We want them to become professionals with special characteristics such as innovation, creativity, commitment, passion, socially responsible, eco-friendly, tolerance, among others, that help them when trying to start their own businesses.
The idea of a project based on Entrepreneurship didn’t come from any particular “Aha!Moment”. However, in the project’s history, we believe there is a truly special moment which is the first time we met as a team. We spent some hours talking about how entrepreneurs should be in our days, what characteristics should be part of their behavior, the relevance of entrepreneurship in our city right now and the impact we could make through the project. It was something memorable because we shared our thoughts, discussed our differences, and got to know each other while talking about a subject that we love. This is a relevant moment for me because it made me realized that AIESEC do develop agents of positive changes and allow them to connect with people with similar interests in order to have a wider vision of the world, and as entrepreneurs those are the tools that can make us different from the rest and really have an impact.
After these months of work, we have realized that the best thing about Entrepreneurship is that its results increase when they’re complemented by other relevant issues: companies that are creating new eco-friendly products, companies that work for least-developed communities, that work with young people, that work to create more sustainable environments, among others. Entrepreneurs have so many opportunities nowadays to truly make an impact on their communities that more and more ideas are being implemented to face the challenges of the present and future generations.
However, our work could not be done outside the framework of our organization. “Every day, AIESEC is enabling the development of agents of positive changes who create the needed impact in society.” We believe that there is no more powerful and clear idea of the contribution of AIESEC in the development of entrepreneurship than this statement. AIESEC is completely aligned with what the world is looking for in terms of entrepreneurships: it needs new leaders (our members), needs new ideas (our hundreds of conferences and projects that work as platforms for our members to speak their mind and share their ideas), needs real actions (our AIESEC way), and needs a legacy (more than 60 years in the world and more than 107 countries and territories being part of our network and keep growing and developing more entrepreneurs). This organization is not just creating leaders…it’s creating agents who are really going to take that idea and work the whole process to make it come true. Our organization is giving the opportunity to all the young entrepreneurs to create a global network of contacts and take advantage of the opportunities. Our organization believes in those who are just beginning but have the passion and commitment to move mountains. AIESEC is the international platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential.”
– Sheyla Berrío, Mariangella Rebolledo, Carolina Tamara, Paula Vargas, Heli Miranda, Carlos Navarro and Frank Veloza – The first ABACUS team