Students and sponsors representing the Southwestern Adventist University’s Enactus team spent the first week of 2020 in South America working in partnership with the Fundacion Artesanias de Chile, an organization under the direction of the First Lady of Chile, Mrs. Cecilia Morel.
The foundation furthers the sociocultural and economic development of artisans in Chile with the intent of preserving traditions passed on from one generation to another.
Enactus conducted a needs assessment with foundation representatives who expressed a desire to provide interactive training on business topics in an easy to understand format.
The project, named ARTIVA, consisted of three workshops in different cities in Chile. Topics focused on practical tips to increase sales and understand the consumer market. Participants learned about marketing, product differentiation, SWOT analysis and consumer behavior.
The culmination of each workshop came in the form of a “mock” sale where students served as customers and artisans used the skills learned to deliver a sales pitch. The workshops stressed communicating the story behind a product, and as the students heard the stories told by each artisan, an invaluable cultural exchange took place.
The ARTIVA project included a train the trainer session with foundation employees who will replicate workshops for other artisan groups. In addition, a fund sponsored by Enactus and managed by the foundation was created to provide raw materials necessary for the expansion of product lines and product differentiation.
“Projects like ARTIVA provide invaluable learning experiences,” Ana Patterson, faculty sponsor and trip lead, said. “Our students not only delivered valuable content, but also participated in a cultural exchange that opened their eyes to the beautiful complexity of Chilean history told in the form of handmade art.”
SWAU student Arielle Powell said they designed ARTIVA to teach the value of product differeentiation and the consumer perspective.
“However, the artisans left us with the knowledge of the link between their livelihoods and their expression through art,” Powell said. “The artisans we met aren’t just selling products, they’re selling their love for their craft.”
Being a part of this project taught SWAU Vivana Martinez to appreciate the different talents and arts that we often times overlook, she said.
The project team included six students plus four sponsors: Patterson, SWAU adjunct professor and Enactus graphic designer Licci Zemleduch, trip photographer/videographer Josafat Zemleduch and Gloria Garafulich-Garbois, who’s the president and liaison of the Gabriella Mistral Foundation.
Major funding for this project was secured through gifts and grants from the Elqui Valley Foundation, the Gabriella Mistral foundation, Civitas Senior Living and the Henderson family.