After making it past 240 other teams, Texas State University-San Marcos has been named 2014 U.S. National Exposition Champion at the Enactus United States National Exposition held in Cincinnati. The competition ended Thursday, April 3, with Heritage University, Texas State University-San Marcos, Roberts Wesleyan College and Belmont University in the final round. In the United States, the competition process consists of four rounds of competition across three days at the Enactus United States National Exposition. The competition progressed through the opening, quarter-final, semi-final and final rounds, after which one team was named the Enactus United States National Champion to represent the United States at the Enactus World Cup.
Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to enable human progress. They establish student programs on campuses across the nation. Enactus students apply business concepts to develop community outreach projects, transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. The US operates as a division of Enactus and with over 500 active universities and more than 17,000 student participants, it represents the single largest Enactus country operation.
National Competitions are dramatic, energy-filled events where Enactus teams showcase the collective impact of their community outreach efforts. Students present their projects and are evaluated by business leaders serving as judges who rank them on how successful they were at using business concepts to improve the quality of life and standard of living for those in need. The winners of these national competitions are then invited to compete at the prestigious Enactus World Cup.
After coming in fourth, Dr. John Gonas, Belmont University’s associate professor of finance and Sam M. Walton Enactus Fellow, said, “I am overwhelmed with the passion, innovation and creativity of our relatively young team. They have already conceived and developed some very impactful and sustainable social enterprises, and I am honored that the Enactus sponsor companies graded us as a top-4 team out of 240 that attended the USA Exhibition.”
Belmont’s four current projects which they reported on at the competition are:
* Be a Blessing, which uses Guatemalan hand-made bracelets as a revenue builder for an orphanage and families in need in the country while also teaching high schoolers in the U.S. business skills
* A Prison Waste Diversion Program that is projected to divert over 63 tons of trash each year, while also creating a $103,000 net impact through savings and recycling revenues within the first three years
* A math/entrepreneurship training program with 100 Kings that saw students achieve a 27 percent increase in math proficiency scores. Also, students reported an 88% increase in their confidence in their ability to learn math.
* Strings for Hope, a new non-profit organization that takes discarded strings from instruments and repurposes them into jewelry. This year Belmont Enactus and Strings for Hope founder Laura Wilson partnered with 12 recording artists including Little Big Town, Florida Georgia Line, the Eli Young Band, Blackjack Billy, and Steven Curtis Chapman. The artists get to select a non-profit of their choice that benefits hunger relief, education or medical aid with 100 percent of the proceeds going to their charity. The artists need only to change the habit of throwing away used strings after a show and ask their guitar techs to box and label the strings with their concert information. Strings for Hope showed a 50 percent increase in sales this year, with $10,000 being donated to various charity organizations.