The University of St. Thomas’ Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) club traveled to Mexico over J-Term to embark on their first international business consulting service trip. Six students and four adults made the journey to Tulum, Mexico, a suburb two hours away from Cancun.
For 10 days the team applied business consulting techniques to assist a resort on the beach and an entrepreneur who had a dream of starting a retreat center that taught yoga, meditation, massage and other life-affirming skills. After arrival, the group split into two groups for a more narrow focus on each project.
The SIFE team was fortunate to stay at Retiro Maya, a resort on the ocean front that offers large retreat spaces, a beach house and cabana options, massages and yoga, along with a restaurant and bar. The SIFE team dove into each of these aspects, interviewing staff members and management, and researching potential improvements.
At the end of the trip, SIFE presented Lu and Salvador Favela, owners of Retiro Maya, with an hourlong slide show and an 82-page booklet to accompany and bring further detail to the overall business analysis, leading to tears of joy and gratitude from our hosts.
Getting to know entrepreneur Edgar Santosh was the highlight of the trip. In order to fully understand his business idea, he provided the group with field trips to the jungle and the biosphere and introduced us to massage, yoga and meditation exercises. Santosh provided a compelling description of his dream to the SIFE team, but lacked a business plan, internal analysis, and online experience with Web development.
The SIFE team created a website and business card for his start-up business, Krishna Temple Retreats, started a Facebook page, provided an internal analysis report, and made a video highlighting retreat activities that he can use for promotional purposes.
SIFE information session
If you are interested in learning more about SIFE, the team will host an information session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, in Room 117, McNeely Hall; also, visit the SIFE website. For more information e-mail Kylie Gayan.