Another uplifting bootstrapper story, this time involving Navajo kids starting their own chocolate-making business. Forget behemoth, faceless companies squeezing profits out wherever they can, this is the kind of globalisation that I can get behind!

The business began when a group of children came to her home looking for a way to make money to go to the local movie house. Elaine suggested they start a business so they could afford to go to the movies whenever they wished, buy bicycles, computers, phones and Internet service. The kids liked the idea and after a lot of discussion and brain-storming, decided they would start a chocolate business where they would make Native design chocolates. The idea and technology took some time to develop, but once the group discovered a way to make inexpensive yet unique chocolate molds, the customers quickly appeared. Several parents were asked to serve as the legal company owners and Lickity Split, a profit-making Limited Liability Company, was born with a mission that was limited to little more than a desire to earn movie tickets. The children manage the business on Saturdays. They hold principal managerial and board positions, make key decisions and develop policy – all with a minimum of adult guidance and supervision. A Lickity Split retail store is being planned to be built in Summer 2006.

Lickity Split operates with sponsorship from a non-profit educational foundation, San Juan Foundation. They receive business training and support from the Small Business Development Center. Since the youth are not allowed to participate in the chocolate business without a sustainable grade point average of at least 2.5, the VISTA members and community volunteers tutor them in their school studies. Thanks to a VISTA supported program called Utah Tech Corp, each Lickity Split youth was given a computer to help with their schoolwork. Tutoring takes place two days per week and the children are excelling as much in their studies are they are in their business.

This entry was posted in Food/Cooking and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.