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2/13/09 The Sectors: Small Business Development

As part of my ongoing, every-other-day series on Peace Corps, I'm going to discuss each of the four sectors in which PCVs serve, here in Morocco: Youth Development, Small Business Development, Health, and Environment. They are four of the five most-populous sectors in all of Peace Corps, so this should be useful information for Peace Corps applicants, regardless of which country or region they're hoping for. Today, I'll focus on Small Business Development, aka SBD.

Small Business Development Volunteers are partnered with artisanal or agricultural cooperatives and associations-working-towards-becoming-cooperatives. These coops may focus on crafts like weaving, carving, or metalsmithing, or they may focus on niche crops, like argan oil, honey, medicinal herbs, or saffron. SBD Volunteers help these fledgling enterprises with product development, marketing, finding craft fairs to display their wares, etc. Some SBD Volunteers have backgrounds in craftwork or art, while others have business or economic degrees.

SBD is a new sector in Morocco, so it's still finding its footing, and in fact is in the process of rewriting its goals right now. SBD Volunteers are sometimes placed with YD Volunteers in amenity-laden cities, where they can help established coops move towards business status or microloans, but they're also placed in rural villages like mine, to help nascent businesses get off the ground.

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps