The name Enactus comes from “ENtrepreneurial ACTion for others creates a better world for US all,” as the organization’s website states. “Enactus is a worldwide organization committed to solving economic, environmental, and social issues through entrepreneurial action,” according to Emily Ruostala, who was the project manager of last year’s Enactus project, Healthy Feet. She continued, “This action is often taken by examining various issues throughout the world and instead of trying to solve them temporarily, we find ways to fix the problem at the root causes, usually involving the development of a business or a kind of entrepreneurial solution.”
For example, the Healthy Feet project that Emily managed last year focused on Haiti and used entertainment-education through animations and comics for kids to explain the importance of wearing shoes to prevent parasites like hookworms. As Emily put it, “One of the things I appreciate the most about the mindset of Enactus, is the way that we don’t just fix the big problems for people around the world, instead we aim to establish a first step to make it possible for those local people to make the lasting change that they need. Our mission is to empower people all throughout the world to better their lives.”
Enactus’ main project, EmpowerNet, “is an online business course for teaching students in Africa how to create their own businesses and stimulate their economy, rather than receiving charitable handouts that are not sustainable,” according to Maria Hilbich, this year’s Enactus marketing director. The course has been offered in Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana, with over 1600 graduates and counting. EmpowerNet will potentially be offered in Haiti, Kenya, Brazil, and Armenia; in fact, translating the course into Portuguese for Brazil is already underway. The course has also been offered at a price to American homeschoolers in order to sustain the project, help it grow, and determine how to best update it.
This year’s new project is called The Bees Knees, “which is a green project aimed at helping the local environment and creating jobs in beekeeping,” Maria explained. Dr. Olga is the faculty advisor and the project manager is Jack Baugus.
Not only do Enactus members put their projects to work in the real world, but they also compete with them. Every year there are National and Global Exposition Competitions where project teams present their work. The National Exposition this year is on May 12-14 in Kansas City, Mo.
Regent’s Enactus chapter has over 30 members this year. Ruotsala explained the level of commitment that Enactus entails: “Involvement in our organization includes attending your team project’s weekly meetings and completing different assignments outside of them.” She added that members can invest as little or as much time as they’re able to in Enactus.