UMKC Enactus Reaches U.S. Semi-Finals

Sustainable projects carry team to eighth in the nation

For a second year in a row, the UMKC Enactus team has broken into the semi-final round of the Enactus USA Competition, beating dozens of teams from across the country to place eighth in the overall competition.

The competition, held in mid-April, drew more than 500 students from 51 American universities to the University of Texas at Dallas. Each team was given 12 minutes to share their innovative new business ventures, with an emphasis on how those projects are affecting positive change.

Our students answer needs in a community using social entrepreneurship and create projects that are supposed to be sustainable, says Erin Blocher, faculty advisor and assistant teaching professor for business communication at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Theyre using the entrepreneurial process to find a need and uncover solutions using human-centered design.

Blocher says many teams focus their efforts around answering one or more of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. The UMKC team focused their presentation around two sustainable projects, Generation Green and Cultura En Tus Manos.

Generation Green is a startup founded by UMKC Enactus in partnership with Shatto Milk Company of Kearney, Missouri. Team President, Marineth Ordinal says the team was inspired by Shattos reusable glass bottles but saw room for improvement.

The one thing that cant be reused is the bottle cap, Ordinal says. One of our team members saw that and asked, what can we do with all of that plastic?’”

Through research, they learned that the caps are made from plastic with a relatively low melting point and that those lids could be turned into reusable dry erase boards for students. So far, theyve sold more than  to several school districts around the Kansas City area.

Cultura En Tus Manos, Spanish for culture in your hands, aims to empower Mexican artisans by providing a platform where they can sell their beautifully 
hand-crafted goods to businesses in the United States. Blocher says inspiration for Cultura came as a product of the pandemic.

Artisans werent getting the same traffic in places like city squares, because tourism had halted. Now part of the students roles is to figure out, now that were out of the pandemic, does that project move forward? Are there still ways to help and platform those artists and connect them with merchants here in Kansas City?

UMKC Enactus will continue to work on projects through the summer months, but not all members of the 2023 competition team will be there. The team held its end of year celebration on May 2, saying goodbye to senior members, including Ordinal, who leaves the team 
in the hands of a new president for a new year.

Im really super proud of what weve accomplished,” Ordinal says. I think were a team that could make it to finals and maybe go on to represent the United States at the Enactus World Cup. They had better watch out for the team next year because theyre going to be doing a lot of things.

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