IBIP: What Even is That?

Scout Crooke, Editor

In September of 2019, Sandy Spring Friends School’s International Business Internship Program (IBIP) team of seven upper school students began their business partnership with the Leadership Initiatives Welding Business in Bauchi, Nigeria. The team includes Siraj Faruqee (Team Lead), Reuven Schwartz and Aron Bishop (Fundraising Chairs), Charles Lewis (Nigeria Partnership Chair), Hanke Chen and Micah Vargas (Special Projects Chairs), and Scout Crooke (Media Chair). Our mission is to improve our business partner’s welding business in Nigeria by utilizing ideas regarding enhancing the methods of keeping receipts and developing new welding designs. 

 

We first met with our business partner, Muzzuddeen Muhammad, and translator, Glory Dadi, over a Skype call in September to discuss the issues and goals of Mr. Muhammad’s business. Mr. Muhammad lives in a peaceful and friendly community in Bauchi State, Nigeria. He works approximately 7 hours a day with his 14 apprentices. In his spare time, Mohammed stays with his family and watches soccer. Bauchi State is a largely heterogeneous State consisting of a total of 55 ethnic groups, including Hausa, Fulani, Sayawa, Bulewa, Warsjawa, Zulawa and Badawa. The most widely spoken languages are Hausa and English, which are treated as official languages, and Christianity and Islam are two main religions in Bauchi. 

 

After our meeting and getting to know our business partner, we learned that his welding business would improve if he had a way to track customer receipts and finances, as well as develop business cards and a logo. After identifying the problem, we brainstormed ways we could help our business partner. Currently, our group has been working on a way of recording receipts and advertisement. Specifically, we will be designing a receipt template that is specific for the welding business that will be able to be printed in Nigeria. This will allow for the business to track sales, expenses, and customers, and will allow for more control and knowledge over the movement of products and money in and out of the business. This requires a custom design commissioned from the team, and will require a supplied printer, from which the design would be printed, in Nigeria.

 

In addition to developing business solutions, our team also hosts fundraisers to contribute to funds that will help provide training to our business partners in Nigeria. So far, we have hosted bake sales, sold chocolate bars at FriendsFest, and we are currently planning other fundraising ideas such as a fundraiser at Chipotle. Furthermore, our team has been working on community and local media outreach and spreading awareness about our business partner and how people can help. One of the ways you can help is by donating to our Global Givings Page here:  https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/sandy-spring-friends-ibip/

 

This program has allowed our team to help make a positive change in the world outside of the US. Our team is so excited to be working with this program and we are grateful that we will be able to take part in this unique opportunity. We have already learned so much from this program, such as what it is like to live in Nigeria and run a small business, as well as ways we can help small businesses develop and improve. Furthermore, we look forward to gaining more experience involving international business and helping make an impactful change in a broader community.