BYU-Hawaii Wins Enactus National Championship
The 110 students who comprise BYU-Hawaii’s Enactus team can tell you, at minimum, six different ways they’ve helped make the world a better place. And soon, they’ll be presenting their work to the world — as the 2015 Enactus U.S. National Champion team.
Enactus is an international nonprofit that brings together students, business leaders and academics to use entrepreneurship to improve people’s lives around the world.
The Laie-based team took on six different projects — two local and four based in Africa — devoting an average of 200 hours a week to see them come to fruition.
The first project took them to Kahuku High School, where BYU Hawaii students helped revamp and restructure Kahuku.org, the school’s scholarship-generating apparel and merchandise portal. They also opened a second physical location in a kiosk at Polynesian Cultural Center.
Outgoing Enactus president and team member Sery Kone notes that they helped turn the struggling e-commerce store around.
“Our predictions are that the store will be able to generate an annual revenue of about $120,000 this year,” he said.
Their second local task was Shine Bright, which sought to help disabled children find their passions — and then to translate those interests into products of economic value.
“One of the girls that we worked with this year … was able to find her passion in writing, so we helped her write her story in a book, and it is now being published,” Kone shared.
Shine Bright also promotes education and training to help family members understand what the children are going through.
The other projects saw BYU-Hawaii students working in Africa’s Ivory Coast. They started a women’s marketplace coop supported by community micro-financing, built a school for 300 former child slaves, reduced malaria infection rates via special fishponds and introduced beekeeping and cheaper fertilizer for struggling cacao farmers.
The team presented on each of these projects at the Enactus national competition in St. Louis, Mo., taking first place over more than 175 other colleges.
“We attribute our success to the Lord, and His support and his guidance,” said Kone. “And on top of that, BYU-Hawaii has been participating in this competition for the last 20 years. The success that we have this year was built 20 generations ago.”
Now, the team prepares for the Enactus World Cup, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in October. They plan on keeping the same projects — but doubling the results.
“We should be able to take and franchise these projects so that we’re not only helping 20 or 200 people, but we can help people all across Africa,” Kone said.
He also noted that nonprofits have been formed to continue these programs long after the Enactus World Cup wraps up.
“These are not projects that we did for the sake of competition only. We are going to continue working on them even after Enactus has ended.”