by Kate Toburen, junior marketing major and marketing intern, Mike Cottrell College of Business
At the Mike Cottrell College of Business we encourage our students to grow strong communities within the university and beyond the walls of our institution. The UNG Enactus club is a perfect representation of what it means to build these stronger communities on and off campus.
As an organization, Enactus clubs around the world enable community progress through entrepreneurial action. Their efforts are focused on building entrepreneurial-based projects that empower people to transform opportunities into sustainable progress for their communities. The UNG Enactus club has developed several projects to aid organizations such as the Angel House and Interactive Neighborhood for Kids (INK). Many of the projects focus around teaching families how to grow their own nutritious food through gardening, along with providing career development workshops.
Graduate Emile Phommavongsy and former UNG Enactus president had this to say about her experience in Enactus: “Out of all of my college experiences at UNG, my involvement with Enactus has definitely been the most life changing. While my position as president of the organization required a lot of dedication and long hours, the personal growth and the impact we made in the community were the best rewards I could ever have asked for. I have always thought that changing the world would require a college degree or a high salary. However, through Enactus, I realized that you can change the world just by improving your own community.”
In addition to the efforts of UNG Enactus in north Georgia, they have taken their entrepreneurial spirit outside of the Unitied States to Belize where they have established a series of economic development projects and workshops over the past few years. Their efforts have ranged from basic skills training to teaching locals how to use recycled materials to create jewelry and other items that can be sold. The materials for the workshops in Belize this year were provided by the Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Accelerator that the UNG Enactus club won at the National Enactus Competition in 2016.
This passion for improving their communities has led to a variety of honors for the organization, both past and present. UNG Enactus has been named Regional Champion annually for more than 20 years, and earlier this week, the UNG Enactus team was declared a grand prize winner at the United States Enactus National USA Rally of Champions. At the competition, they received first place in the Unilever BrightFuture Project Accelerator and Nature Made Healthy Living Challenge, second place in Coca Cola’s Uncap Opportunities for Women Challenge, and third place in the Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Accelerator.
After competing in the Enactus National USA Rally of Champions and the Enactus Project Accelerators, the UNG Enactus team moved on to the Enactus USA National Championship in Kansas City, Missouri.
The club presented several projects at the Enactus competitions where a panel of business leaders assess the project’s ability to improve the quality and standards of living for those in need. Total, UNG Enactus finished 33rd out of 105 teams competing at the championship, they claimed 5 National awards, and won $23,250 in prize money. In addition, Mike Cottrell College of Business associate dean of students Katie Simmons was named one of two national Walton Fellow of the Year award recipients. This award is given annually to two individuals from a college or university who have done the most to advance the entire Enactus organization during the academic year and who have made outstanding contributions to Enactus students and the team on their campus.
For more information, or to watch Mrs. Simmons receive her award, visit the UNG Enactus Facebook page.