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THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP PRACTICE IN A BRAZILIAN NGO - NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION: A SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE IN A STREET KIDS EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL CENTRE
Arnaldo A.F. Siqueira
Brazilian Association For Entrepreneurial Development
Av. Pedroso de Morais
677 cj. 81
Sao Paulo 05419-000 BRAZIL
The problem of the street kids in Brazil is a highly worrying subject, in spite of the existence of many public, private and non-governmental institutions that should take care of these children and adolescents. In the majority of the country's big cities, children are still in the streets or confined in prison-like institutions, and their number increases every day. In order to deal with this complex social and economic problem (abandoned children/street kids) it was created, in 1978, the FAMFS (Fundacao de Amparo ao Menor de Feira de Santana) - Children's Care Foundation of Feira de Santana, in the largest city of the interior of the State of Bahia, with 600,000 inhabitants, the most important crossroads of Brazil.FAMFS has been successful in promoting physical, mental and emotional development of abandoned children and adolescents, through the following main initiatives: - Custody House, for abandoned female adolescents; - The Adolescent Apprenticeship Project, for formal and professional education. This paper aims at demonstrating that the success of FAMFS is due to the entrepreneurial attitudes of its founders and current directors. To evaluate these attitudes the Entrepreneurial Self-evaluation Questionnaire - ESQ - was filled in by the 10 main founders and directors of the institution. The results of this study contribute to demonstrate the practice of entrepreneurship in the not-for-profit sector in a sucessful Brazilian NGO related to the care and education of abandoned children and adolescents and may be used as a benchmarking to similar organizations.
The authors utilized three sources of data: a) The Entrepreneurial Self-evaluation Questionnaire - ESQ - (adapted from the United Nations Entrepreneurship Development Program Methodology).
b)Data from a biographical questionnaire. c) Personal interviews and a visit to Feira de Santana and to FAMFS; interviews with some of the children and adolescents. ESQ was used with the purpose of obtaining the PEC - Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies profiles through graphic illustrations, for each FAMFS founder/director. The competencies
(opportunity seeking and initiative, risk taking, demand for efficiency and quality, persistence, commitment to work contract, information seeking, goal setting, systematic planning and monitoring, persuasion and networking, independence and self confidence) were obtained for each individual and for the group as a whole.
Therefore, the PEC profile of the FAMFS founders/directors gives a graphic illustration of the entrepreneurs strengths and weaknesses, along the ten PEC dimensions, which describe their behaviors.
Differently from most Brazilian cities, no children and/or adolescents were found in the traffic lights begging or selling stuff during the authors' visit to Feira de Santana. The hypothesis is that, despite the unfavourable setting (the poverty of the region, the fact of Feira being a very important crossroads, which facilitates migration),the success of FAMFS activities contributed to give these children alternatives of living and working/studying. The positive results of FAMFS are explained by the following aspects: - The subject - abandoned children - is treated with seriousness and professionalism by FAMFS heads, always motivated and following the policies of the Foundation.
- The key-directors always use their personal charisma, making decisions in a very objective way, with the least expenditure possible, with creativity and leadership.The FAMFS obviously benefits from these characteristics. The analysis of the entrepreneurial profiles of the group studied ranked the competencies as follows:
- Strong points : commitment to work contract, goal setting, information seeking, independence and self-confidence, and opportunity seeking and initiative
- weak points : demand for efficiency and quality, persistence, risk taking, persuasion and networking, and systematic planning and monitoring.
The consciousness about the entrepreneurial profile, with emphasis on certain competencies, is fundamental for the improvement of the work of the NGOs. Therefore, the PEC score methodology used in this paper tends to support the value of Entrepreneurship development and behavioral training for NGOs' directors and staff.