Publication Date

1997

First Advisor

Paul Ventura

Abstract

This capstone paper is a study of the small businesses in the rural town of Monteverde, Costa Rica. This paper explores the question, "Are Monteverde's small businesses sustainable long-term as tourism levels off and competition increases?" To answer this question, this paper asks, "What factors do small business experts consider constitute success and how do existing businesses in Monteverde stand up to them?" This paper also considers, "Do cultural differences between Costa Rican and foreign small business owners influence their success?"

Twenty small businesses in Monteverde are evaluated on 9 different criteria that experts in small business development consider essential for success. Data was collected on the 20 small businesses through interviews with owners and through personal observations over 5 years of living and working in Monteverde.

This paper concludes by recommending what Monteverde small businesses need to do to ensure their continued success as tourism levels off. Owners need to make changes on an individual level in response to changes in the business climate, as well as they need to unite forces in order to promote Monteverde on a national level as a top tourist attraction. This study found that both Costa Rican and foreigners are successful small business owners are successful small business owners in Monteverde. However, foreigners have an advantage over Costa Ricans on a national level in regards to offering quality customer service.

This capstone paper can be used to identify non-financial characteristics of a successful small business in Costa Rica. Also, Monteverde can serve as a model to other Costa Rican towns that are developing their tourist industry.

Disciplines

Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations

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