“Chow, Chow, Chicki, Chow, Chow”: The Chant that Launched a Camp Company

The Mo’ Girls tagline is “helping more girls become moguls” and the Port of Spain  Midi Mogul (11-13 year olds) group took this motto to heart, and launched into action.  As they worked through the Mo’ Girl modules, these nine young ladies came up with the idea to develop a business selling chow during camp. Their facilitator, Pearl Yatali-Gonzales—with the assistance of the rest of team, allowed them to use this collective business idea as the basis for their learning during the camp.

These enterprising young women assigned roles to their team from marketing manager and graphic designer to production manager and production line workers. They sourced their ingredients, did a marketing campaign by visiting each of the other groups to advertise their product, set prices and even worked through a quality assurance process.

When supplies were too low to meet demand, the team decided to test the product, tweak the recipe, and plan appropriately to launch a more polished product.  Originally planning on making mango chow and unable to source it, the girls adjusted their concept to suit the fruit [pineapple] that was readily available. These challenges tested their problem-solving and teamwork skills and they came out on top.

Calls of “Chow, Chow, Chicki, Chow, Chow!” could be heard echoing through the halls on the last days of camp as the Midi Moguls advertised and launched their business. Selling to visitors, campers, and facilitators alike, the girls plunged themselves headfirst into entrepreneurship. At just $5 per cup of chow, after expenses, the girls grossed $92 TTD and shared their profits equally amongst themselves. One of the Midi Moguls has indicated that she will use Midi Moguls Chow as the model for her own “sucker bag” business, which she will start building on weekends and during her spare time.

It is clear that these young ladies learned many of the crucial parts of business development and stewardship through this hands-on experience, and developed an appetite for entrepreneurship in the process.

 

Pitch Perfect : Mini Masters & Beyond

Public speaking can be nerve-racking for even the most seasoned of professionals. Being prepared but adaptable, reading your audience and knowing your content inside and out—it can make your heart pound through your chest and your palms extra sweaty. Nevertheless, it a necessary skill for any entrepreneur operating in this shrinking world of technology. Sometimes, your only chance of connecting to, meeting and/ or engaging with a new client, potential investor or partner is via a video conference. Therefore, you have to know how to pitch your business and services.  

At the  Mo’ Girls Empowerment and Entrepreneurship camps, girls were built up to that point through a series of smaller presentations, ad campaigns and multimedia exercises like commercials, podcasts, and much more throughout the week. The thought process being that by the end of camp, each girl would be as equipped as possible to present her business or business idea to a team of potential investors. And ready they were!

In Arima, the Mini Moguls shined with exuberant presentations of businesses that spanned business forms such as co-ops, sole traders and partnerships including an upcycled bracelet business (applying skills learned in the jewelry skill-share by Alana Ramlal), a fruit market and an earring boutique. One after the other they impressed investors with creative entrances, concise and informative presentations of their business details from finances to product lines.  

The Major Moguls in both Arima and Port of Spain formed meaningful partnerships and even sole trader businesses that allowed them to build upon their existing interests and business ideas ranging from spas to galleries and even a crochet cellphone case business. The ideas and business forms were varied but what was consistent was a measured growth in the girls’ confidence and public speaking ability throughout the week.

 

A Note from the MAMs | Mo’ Girls to the World!

Just over two years ago (perhaps, closer to three) , an empowerment and entrepreneurship programme for girls—one that touched all of the places that informed our journey as women entrepreneurs and paid forward the guidance, mentorship, life lessons, love and support we received along the way—was just an idea in our company “parking lot.”* As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months and the months into years since we first conceived it, we would work on different aspects of the programme when our schedules allowed, revisit them, tweak them, discuss the project again and refine our vision. This process of incubation took almost three years and then we decided that we were ready to test the programme and the world (particularly the places we wished to launch it) were ready to receive it. So, our vision for and expectations of what we recently launched as the Mo’ Girls Empowerment & Entrepreneurship Pilot Programme are both well thought out and meaningful to us and our team. Now that we’ve tested and proven the concept of Mo’ Girls in two hubs in Trinidad, the way forward and intended impact of Mo’ Girls  is becoming clearer and clearer.

Next Steps for Mo’ Girls…

  • More than Just a Vacation Camp! In the immediate future (likely starting in November), we are developing a follow-on, yearlong programme of workshops for the girls who participated in the two pilot implementations of the programme to continue our work with them.

 

  • Mo’ Girls-Sando, Mo’ Girls-Tobago & Mo’ Girls-DC! Our team is in the process of using the lessons learnt from Mo’ Girls-Arima and Mo’ Girls-Port of Spain to tweak and adapt the curriculum and administrative processes to three additional pilot implementations to be held over Easter Break in T&T and over Spring Break in the U.S. We are forming a team in the capital city of the U.S., Washington, DC (a place instrumental in our development as career women). Locally, we’re  working with our first cohort of auditors and facilitators to plan a Sando-based camp and establish a team in the sister isle of Tobago.

 

  • Even More Mo’ Girls, July/August 2018! Granted we have a successful soft launch in April 2018, we will launch Mo’ Girls in its full form in ten cities throughout North America and the Caribbean over the course of twelve weeks. The programme will ideally impact the lives of approximately 210 young women over the course of June-August School Holidays 2018. The intended cities/boroughs are Arima, Chaguanas, Point Fortin, Port of Spain,  San Fernando and Toco in Trinidad; Charlotteville and Scarborough in Tobago; as well as Brooklyn, NY and Washington, D.C. in the U.S.

 

  • Mo’ Girls-Jamaica and Beyond! Following full programme launches in the aforementioned places, we intend to roll the programme out regionally, starting with a pilot in Jamaica during the Easter school holidays of 2019. Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Grenada are also in our sights (the vision is to roll out in a new island in the English-speaking Caribbean every year after the Jamaica launch until we have functioning camps and yearlong programmes in each of these places).

So, Mo’ Girls is just beginning and there is so much to look forward to in the coming months and years. We hope you’ll stay with us and/or join us in our quest to help more girls become moguls!

Melissa & Michele (The MAMs)

*A parking lot, in this context, is a place/document/file where we house ideas that we hope to develop in the future.