BUFFALO, NY ― Canisius Enactus (formerly SIFE) placed fifth in the Enactus United States National Exposition in Kansas City, MO from May 21-23. Out of approximately 1,300 Enactus teams in the US, only 87 teams earned a spot to compete at the national level. Canisius University Enactus advanced to the semi-final round of competition - an honor bestowed to the top 16 US Enactus teams. Canisius Enactus consistently places among the top teams in the country at national competition.
Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe.
The Canisius Enactus team gave a 17-minute audiovisual presentation highlighting their programs’ entrepreneurial, economic and social impact to a panel of judges from major corporations, such as Walmart, Hallmark, Unilever, KPMG, Rich’s, Johnson & Johnson, Ford and Microsoft, followed by a five-minute Q&A session.
The Canisius Enactus team included the following students:
- Rebecca Anthone ᾽18, a journalism and communication studies dual major
- Teddy Benz ᾽19, a computer science and digital media arts dual major
- Luke Kennedy ᾽21, a freshman communication studies major
- Thomas Kirch ᾽18, finance major
- Jack Moretti MBA᾽18, a graduate student in the master’s program in business administration
- Annie Niland ᾽18, a digital media arts major
- Lauren Thorne ᾽21, a freshman mathematics and economics dual major
- Annie Westermeier ᾽18, a biology major
- Collin Zapisek ᾽18, a management major
Nick Tober ᾽06, MBA ᾽08 serves as Enactus advisor and has been involved with Canisius Enactus since fall 2004. Tober replaces Patricia Hutton, PhD, professor of economics and finance, who founded the team in spring 2004.
“The Canisius University and Buffalo communities are forever indebted to Pat for her hard work, perseverance and dedication to Enactus over the past 13 years,” says Tober. “Canisius Enactus is making a positive difference in the education of our students and is giving them a competitive edge in the job market. The team’s initiatives not only contribute to the local community and economy but are also consistent with and promote the Jesuit mission of the college, especially Buffalo’s growing immigrant community.”
“I am very impressed by the accomplishments of the Canisius Enactus team,” said Denise M. Rotundo, PhD, dean of the Wehle School of Business. “The students are making a positive impact on the local community by helping at-risk populations develop sustainable incomes through entrepreneurial activity. At the same time, the students are using the knowledge and skills developed in their business classes while they are living the mission of the college and the Wehle School of Business.”
During the competition, Enactus showcased four projects including SewREDI, YES, QuadGear and SEED. SewREDI, or Refugee Economic Development Initiative, is an economic and entrepreneurial empowerment program which teaches refugees on Buffalo’s West Side marketable sewing skills. Once a refugee passes a sewing proficiency exam, they earn a free sewing machine to create an array of products that Enactus students help sell at local art shows and festivals throughout the WNY community.
Enactus also sells products online at www.sewredibuffalo.com, and has made sales across the US from Maryland to California. Each refugee keeps 100% of the profit earned from the sale of the product. Refugees meet each Saturday and have created a community to practice English, learn marketable skills and earn a livable income. This past year was the group’s most successful year, generating more than $13k in revenue. Since starting in 2011, this program has impacted over 250 refugees, and this past year became an official not-for-profit 501(c)(3).
YES, or Youth Entrepreneurial Showcase, teaches middle school students on Buffalo’s East Side entrepreneurial skills through a curriculum that is relevant to their circumstances. At the end of the course, students are divided into teams and are tasked with creating a t-shirt design to be produced by Enactus’ customized apparel business, QuadGear, and sold to the local community. This year, the program was expanded to three new locations, impacting over 45 students and generating more than $200 in profit for the students.
QuadGear is Enactus’ student-run customized apparel and promotions business. Started in 2006, the business has evolved to now include graphic design and marketing consultation work. The business has also implemented a “Buy One Give One” philanthropic mission, donating an apparel item to someone in need (homeless shelter, mission trip, etc.) for each item sold.
SEED, or Stimulating Entrepreneurial and Economic Development, is Enactus’ newest program. Through a partnership with the Canisius University Women’s Business Center (WBC) and Evans Bank, the group offers up to $20,000 as cash collateral to a female entrepreneur enrolled in WBC’s Grow Program, who is looking for capital to expand her current business. Enactus students are involved in vetting applicants, and working to create a strategic growth plan to ensure revenue generation and timely repayment of the loan. Enactus is reviewing one applicant and aiming to get the loan process underway this summer. Students will be working side-by-side to ensure the growth and success of this business.
Canisius Enactus represents the Richard J. Wehle School of Business but has members from a wide variety of majors, including from the School of Arts and Sciences. This diversity of disciplines provides a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills acquired through coursework and extracurricular activities that are essential to Enactus economic development initiatives.
Canisius is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation and the premier private university in Western New York. -