Week commencing 3rd September 2012 we launched into unknown territory… filed testing our Mochee_Project_BusinessGrowthManualv1.1 with street cobblers. The manual is currently only available in Urdu.
We had reservations before we kicked off, not knowing what sort of reception entrepreneurial skills development would receive from street cobblers (most of the things we were set to cover are alien to them)…. wether they would be open to concepts of financial record keeping/planning, marketing, developing new service lines, customer relationship management, operational efficiencies amongst other ideas we are taking to a micro-enterprise in the third world.
For the pilot we did tilt the scales in our favour somewhat by selecting street cobblers from our initial sample base of 424 who are educated (exceptions to the norm), are already revenue leaders in sample set and utilising their connections we sourced others not in our sample but identified to PTP as ambitious go-getters within the street cobbler community.
We tailored our BGM test sample because we needed individuals who have the foresight to see the benefits of what we are trying to achieve (value education) and therefore would be in a better position to help and assist us in customising the business growth manual (BGM) for wider consumption amongst street cobblers. The test sample was engaged with multiple aims; to depart knowledge, to capture their feedback and customise our manual for Joe public in the cobbler community who has little to no education and may well see giving up his evenings to learn from team PTP as a waste of time or something even worse! and lastly with a view of selecting one or more of the participants as master trainers for a wider roll out of the program. Our desired BGM test sample size was five but we could only source 4 individuals who met the criteria for the BGM test sample.
Testing the BGM with our selected sample enabled team PTP to alter the language within the manual and its in-class delivery, some of the course content which had to be simplified for wider consumption and the mode of delivery.
Overcoming the first hurdle:
We knew getting street cobblers educated, high earners or otherwise to give up ten hours of their time for a week, two hours each day was going to be a tall order and knowledge alone will not be motivation enough to get them through the door and keep bringing them back every day for five days. We did try the ‘you will be paid in knowledge and skills for your time’ approach but saw little enthusiasm for it and made the decision to incentivise the street cobblers to attend with monetary gain. Though initially we were against the idea of providing any monetary incentive but then we were getting the benefit of our participants feedback in bettering our BGM and recognised their contribution as no different than that of a consultant!… yes we were teaching them but they were teaching us too.
The BGM test workshop format:
Even before we kicked off the BGM testing week we had already been informed by potential participants we had been in conversation with that 1 to 1 training would not be of benefit, individuals would be less inhibited in a group of their peers, a group would be able to carry the weaker participants better and individual sessions may demotivate a street cobbler who may be struggling with the concepts being taught even further away from any sort of vocational training. Therefore we changed our format to group study of 2 hours every evening over 5 days. The workshop and training was conducted by PTP’s Chief Executive in Pakistan, Nazish Zahoor, supported by Baber Qureshi from PTP’s Admin & Finance dept. Asad Ullah PTP’s research internee. All sessions were video recorded for future use and for the training of PTP’s own staff. We are still struggling to find volunteers to edit 400+ hours of video content captured so far and would be making the video content available as soon as we find a volunteer or the finance to engage a paid editor: so if you know of anyone who may be interested in volunteering, can volunteer yourself or can contribute towards hiring one for a couple of months to clear our backlog of video content please get in touch.
The BGM test sample: individual profiles: Participants
Should you want to speak to any of the participants please get in touch with us and we shall forward you the participant’s contact details. Daily logs of the five day BGM field testing will be posted shortly.