For the first time in UMKC Enactus history, the team placed fourth in the nation at the 2019 Enactus United States National Championship. Andrea Savage received the Enactus USA Project Leader of the Year award; and Ali Brandolino received the Enactus USA membership leader of the year award.
“I’m incredibly proud of them,” said Ben Williams, Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation assistant director and UMKC Enactus advisor. “We graduated so many students last year and were afraid this year would be rebuilding. Our students took the leadership reigns and the leadership board took everything seriously. They were so successful while doing so much learning.”
The national competition was the culmination of a year’s worth of preparation. The competition presentation had to encapsulate the full impact of the team’s efforts over the last year. To ensure success, Brandolino took the lead and created four teams: presentation, script writing, visuals and annual report. The presentation team practiced six hours each week while the script, annual report and visuals were created outside of that time.
In April, Unilever invited UMKC Enactus to represent the United States in the Unilever Future Leaders’ League, a business-case competition in London. The UMKC team was selected after winning the Unilever Bright Futures Award at last year’s competition for their initiative to combat food waste. The effort, called FeedKC, takes excess food from local restaurants and university cafeterias and delivers it to area homeless shelters.
The team will spend this summer looking at needs in the community as they decide on projects for next year. UMKC Enactus has 80 members with students representing all campus disciplines. Two people graduate this month, but many will return.
“They will have the benefit of experience coming back,” Williams said. “We always lose some leadership due to graduation. But there will be less of a transition this summer and they can pick up where they left off. Who knows what we can do next year.”
The Enactus United States National Championships, presented by Hallmark Cards, Inc., began on May 6 at the Kansas City Convention Center. Teams from across the country delivered live, multi-media presentations describing their projects to panels of senior business leaders, specifically on how the team created sustainable impact economically, socially or environmentally by using entrepreneurial action. In addition, students interviewed for jobs and internships at the Career Fair where recruiters vied to attract this exceptional talent.
“These Enactus teams demonstrated how they are positively impacting our world,” said Chris Mills, acting president of Enactus United States. “Our time in Kansas City has given academic, business and student leaders the chance to connect, share perspectives and drive innovation. The Expo provides students the ultimate opportunity to hone their skills while employers from around the country have a chance to scout for the best and brightest talent. The Enactus experience is building an engaged generation of leaders who have a head for business and a heart for the world.”
Additionally, UMKC students participated in the first Enactus USA Reverse Pitch where organizations from Kansas City presented organizational challenges to 50 Enactus students from 20 different universities across the country. The students had three days to form teams, research the challenge, and create an impactful solution to present to the challengers. Two students, Adam Larson and Haitham Al Lawati presented the winning idea to the Kansas City Area Development Council to rethink the way public transportation is used in this city.
The student team from Brigham Young University-Hawaii earned $10,000 and was named 2019 Enactus United States National Champion. They will represent Enactus United States competing with 36 other countries at the 2019 Enactus World Cup Sept. 16 – 18 in San Jose, Calif. Taking second place was Utah Valley University, and taking third place was LaSierra University.
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 experience not only transforms lives, it helps students develop the kind of talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in an ever-more complicated and challenging world.