The 2014 SBU Enactus team finished the year ranked in the top 40 in the nation.
The Southwest Baptist University Enactus team competed in the Enactus USA National Exposition April 1-3 in Cincinnati. More than 200 schools competed with SBU advancing to the quarterfinal round and then finishing in the top 40.
Enactus (formerly Students In Free Enterprise) stands for Entrepreneurial, Action, Us. SBU has a long history with Enactus. The president and CEO of Enactus, Alvin Rohrs, is an SBU alum and the world headquarters, now in Springfield, were on the SBU campus from 1982-1989. There are now Enactus teams at more than 1,600 universities in 36 countries.
“Our team has worked so hard to build upon the successes of previous years,” said Levi Bridge, staff advisor for SBU Enactus. “I am confident in the impact they have made in our community and around the world, and I am proud of what they achieved against very tough competition at this year’s national exposition.”
At the national exposition, teams give a 17-minute presentation and five-minute question-and-answer session in front of a panel of judges comprised of CEOs and business leaders explaining how they transformed lives and enabled progress through their team’s projects. Judges evaluate the team’s projects and presentations to determine based on the relevant economic, social and environmental factors, which team most effectively empowered people in need by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living.
The SBU Enactus presentation team was comprised of the following student speakers:
- Bethany Juergens, sophomore, from Liberty, Mo., and team project leader
- Aaron Soltow, junior, from Moline, Ill., and team vice president
- Maggie Taylor, senior, from Kearney, Mo., and team president
- Michele Wyatt, sophomore, from Blue Springs, Mo., and team project leader
In the presentation, SBU Enactus highlighted four of the team’s projects: NightLight, The Bean 3:16, New Day Orphanage and Ergon Handicrafts.
“Our team has gone above and beyond to help others achieve their dreams,” Taylor said. “Our team members wholeheartedly fulfill the Enactus mission and I am immensely proud and grateful for their hard work and perseverance.”
NightLight International is an organization committed to addressing the complex issues of commercial sexual exploitation through a four-step process of prevention, intervention, restoration and education. When NightLight recently opened a branch to serve the Springfield and Branson communities, SBU Enactus stepped up to help working side-by-side with the organization to create a multi-step process to ensure the stability of the outreach project. Since this partnership began last fall, they have been able to reach out to 71 men and women in the sex trafficking industry, several of whom have chosen to follow through with the outreach program. They have also formed four church partnerships which will increase outreach potential.
SBU Enactus has been working with The Bean 3:16, a local coffee shop in Bolivar, since 2012. Students have worked closely with the shop’s owner through weekly strategic planning meetings. The team secured a grant used to purchase a panini grill, which has increased food sales by 30 percent. With the help of SBU Enactus, The Bean 3:16 has taken initiatives to support local art through the display of local artists’ work and hosting free community concert events. On nights advertised for music, sales at The Bean 3:16 has increased 90-110 percent.
New Day Orphanage is in Zambia, Africa. Several team members traveled there in 2013 and another trip is planned for December 2014. The SBU Enactus team is helping to facilitate the orphanage’s profitability by educating the Zambian employees with essential financial knowledge. They wrote a financial curriculum to instruct the teachers there who will then be able to pass the knowledge on to their students, helping to break the cycle of poverty in their community. The SBU Enactus team is also leading fundraising efforts to help build a new dorm at the orphanage which will allow them to increase the number of orphans they can serve by 625%.
Five SBU Enactus team members traveled to India in July 2013 where they met and worked with an American missionary who is a small business owner of Ergon Handicrafts. Her business produces hand-designed stationary pieces made by a group of six Indian women living in the slums of Jaipur. The SBU Enactus team has begun a partnership with Ergon Handicrafts to increase the scope and scale of their business with plans to begin selling the products on the SBU campus and at The Bean 3:16.
For more information about SBU Enactus, contact Bridge at lbridge@SBUniv.edu or Dr. Nathan Wright, faculty advisor for Enactus, at nwright@SBUniv.edu.