Students, Faculty Honored at National Level

UMKC Enactus gains national recognition in business pitch competition
UMKC Enactus at the Enactus Virtual Competition

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Enactus team from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management took second place, out of more than 400 teams, at the 2020 Enactus USA National Exposition, held virtually May 6-14.

In addition to being among the top two teams in the nation, UMKC Enactus won the audience-voted Enactus Excellence Awards in all three categories – Most Passion, Most Innovation and Most Collaboration. The team also won first place and $7,500 for the Menasha Future of Employment Project Accelerator, which focused on providing employment for underserved communities.

Individual awards were presented to students Alessandra Brandolino, the Jules and Gwen Knapp Enactus Ambassador Scholarship ($10,000); Lindsey Temaat, Enactus USA’s Marketing Leader of the Year; Hieu (Peter) Trinh, Project Leader of the Year; and Emily Testerman, finalist for Membership Leader of the Year.

UMKC Enactus Advisor Benjamin Williams also received the Jack Kahl Entrepreneurship Leadership Award for the Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow of the Year, a first in UMKC history. The award, presented at the competition every year, honors an Enactus advisor who has done the most to advance the Enactus organization during the current academic year, exemplified leadership, made a direct impact on Enactus students, and helped students with career placement.

The 2020 award to Williams adds to a tradition of excellence among UMKC Enactus advisors. The team’s founding advisor, Cary Clark, was inducted into the Enactus USA Sam Walton Fellow Hall of Fame in 2014. Clark served as advisor from 2005 until his retirement in 2015. Erin Blocher, who teaches business communication at the Bloch School, joined Williams as a co-advisor in 2018.

Enactus is a global organization for college students who volunteer to develop projects that create positive change through entrepreneurial action. Students describe their projects in multi-media presentations for the competition. While the team is headquartered at the Bloch School, it draws students from across campus, an example of how UMKC emphasizes entrepreneurship and innovation campus-wide.

“This organization has changed the way I view the world,” said UMKC Enactus President Salem Habte, senior, B.B.A. Entrepreneurship.

“I'm grateful to have been a part of it for all four years of college. Finishing second in the nation made history and proves that our students are capable of anything with hard work and a lot of hope.”

“I am truly at a loss for words right now,” said Brandolino, vice president of Projects and president-elect, junior, B.B.A. Entrepreneurship. “When I joined this team three years ago, I never imagined that we would be the second most impactful Enactus team in the United States. Each person on this team contributed to this win in unique ways and I am so thankful to be a part of such an incredible team.”

For this year’s competition, UMKC Enactus presented the projects Feed KC and Generation Green. In total, the team took home $8,300 to put toward their projects and operations. This year alone, the UMKC team has impacted the lives of more than 7,000 people and introduced projects that range from providing sustainable and convenient transportation to low-income commuters to recycling plastic waste into durable classroom tools for teachers.

The UMKC students on the presentation team were: Ahmed Boukhousse, Nicole Dover, Hannah Case, Riddhi Sharma, Hieu N. Trinh, Kelly V. Nguyen, Lindsey Temaat, Salem M. Habte and Brian Bartenslager. Members of the UMKC Enactus Executive Board are Salem M. Habte, Alessandra Brandolino, Emily Testerman, Tony Jordan, Hieu N.Trinh, Sydney Steehn, Hannah Case and Lindsey Temaat.

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