In the spring semester of 2021, Amazon Ecology worked with Prof. Eric Foley, Director of the Center for the Business of Sustainability in the Penn State University Smeal College of Business who invited our non-profit group to be the sole client for a senior class he teaches on Social Entrepreneurship. We began by sharing the goals, activities and context of our work with the full class which was then divided into seven four-person teams which each spent two months focusing on a specific theme developed by Prof. Foley, Amazon Ecology Executive Director Campbell Plowden and Kieran Holland who is the Executive Director of Ten Thousand Villages State College and an AE board member.
A cluster of three teams each developed marketing plans for woven baskets, decorations, and guitar straps. The other teams developed strategies to expand our outreach to wholesale clients, ideas for forming strategic partnerships, ways we could measure and display our impact, and outline of a five-year financial plan for Amazon Ecology and our affiliate groups in Peru.
The teams have given us a lot of valuable information and recommendations for ways to improve our website, work with influencers and social media, better frame our goals and achievements for the public and funders, and begin to understand the level of staffing and financial resources we will need to become a sustainable organization. We will share specific ideas generated from this class with board members helping us develop our marketing, communications and financial plans. Many thanks to Prof. Foley for giving us the opportunity to work with him and his class and introduce us to other people from the Penn State community and beyond interested in fair trade.
"The closing of our AVP Training for Facilitators included a round of Namaste where two people bow to each other. This customary greeting from India roughly means “the Devine in me greets the Devine in you.” AVP is not associated with any faith, but it is often a deeply spiritual experience."