In December of 2010, a Regis University student from Belize and a Regis University faculty member launched an entrepreneurial adventure by planting 1,000 teak trees on one acre of land near the town of Punta Gorda in southern Belize. The trees survived four months of drought, and in June of 2011 another 1,000 trees were planted. In June of 2012, the student and professor will do a third planting of 1,000 trees, bringing the grand total to 3,000 trees. Two full-time Mayan Indians are employed; they trim, fertilize, and water the trees. Future expansion will require hiring additional workers. The operating life cycle of a teak tree is approximately 20 years from planting to harvest. A unique plan is being developed by faculty, students, and administrators of Regis University that will facilitate student entrepreneurship education and increase sustainable environmentally-friendly economic opportunities in southern Belize. Planting, caring for, harvesting, and marketing teak trees is a complex task. Teak tree suppliers must be located, trees must be planted and fertilized, and jungle vegetation must be abated. “Green” certification must be obtained. Harvesting requires the services of logging, milling, drying, and transportation technicians. Finally, finished teak wood must be priced, buyers located, and delivery secured. Students of Regis University are fashioning business plans to own and grow teak trees; scaling and repeating the teak tree farming business model provided; addressing the needs of tree farmers in Belize by creating a saw mill and kiln, and developing marketing channels. The Belize business opportunity requires students to understand international entrepreneurship, both theoretically and experientially, and requires students to align economic opportunities with the indigenous population.
Bush, Don; Dakin, Karl; Force, Marilynn; and Powanga, Luka
"Magis: Creating a Sustainable, Educational and Economic Partnership in Belize,"
Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal: Vol. 1
, Article 9.
Available at: http://epublications.regis.edu/jhe/vol1/iss2/9