Belmont team wins top prize at event co-hosted by U.S. Department of State; Flagship project Spring Back Recycling gains momentum
Students from Belmont University were named the 2012 World Cup champions this evening in an international entrepreneurship competition in Washington, D.C., beating out the national champions of 37 other countries with a flawless presentation and annual report on their 14 community outreach projects. The Belmont team was formerly known as Belmont SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) until SIFE Worldwide announced its new name, Enactus, this week. Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.
Belmont President Bob Fisher said, “A National Championship is a big deal—even when it’s the second one in three years—but a World Championship is huge! I couldn’t be more proud of our faculty leadership and especially these absolutely amazing students!!!”
Alvin Rohrs, president and CEO of Enactus Worldwide, said, “I feel great pride for what the Belmont team did… The only thing better than their presentation and their projects this year is how they’ve shown the character they have in how they relate to everyone else. I think that speaks a lot about the University and the caliber of these leaders.”
Once a year, the national champion Enactus teams from around world meet at the Enactus World Cup where they present the results of their community outreach projects to a prestigious group of international business leaders. Through a written annual report and live audio visual presentation, teams are evaluated based on how successful they were at using business concepts to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. The 2012 Enactus World Cup was held Sun., Sept. 30-Tues., Oct. 2 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., and the event was co-hosted by the U.S. Department of State.
Belmont won its opening round Monday and was one of 16 semi-finalists to compete on Tuesday afternoon; the Belmont team was named the World Cup champion at approximately 4:50 p.m. Central. Other top four competitors included India (HR College of Commerce and Economics), Zimbabwe (Midlands State University) and second place finishers Egypt (French University).
This is the second time in three years that Belmont’s team has won the national championship, placing the group as the No. 1 team out of nearly 600 teams in the U.S. The 2012 World Cup provided a showcase of the impact that Enactus teams are achieving around the world and brought together an international network of more than 3,000 student, academic and business leaders from more than 39 countries.
During the 2011-12 academic year, Belmont SIFE, now Belmont Enactus, focused on 14 projects to benefit the local and global communities. They addressed issues including job skills training, small business development and environmental sustainability. The students spent 2,442 volunteer hours developing and completing their projects. In addition, the 42 team members are involved in many other organizations and represent a variety of majors across campus.
As the group’s flagship project, Belmont developed the concept, business plan, supply chain, licensee structure and operations manual for Spring Back Recycling, a nonprofit business that employs formerly homeless or incarcerated workers in recycling mattresses, giving them an opportunity for sustainable employment and small business training. The original location, Spring Back Nashville (a partnership with Belmont Church’s Isaiah 58 ministry), celebrated its one-year anniversary in April and continues to gain momentum and national media interest. To date, more than 15,000 mattresses have been recycled, and 250 tons of waste diverted from landfills. In addition to receiving mattresses from individuals and a consortium of retailers covering five states, Spring Back is also currently in talks with the U.S. Navy to receive an additional 13,000 mattresses from two aircraft carriers for a pilot program this fall. The organization’s second licensee, Spring Back Colorado, opened in August, and the team is currently negotiating licensing opportunities in five other cities.
Other examples of the Belmont Enactus team projects include:
• Provided business and financial plans to fashionABLE, which works with women from Ethiopia whose former source of income was to sell their bodies as prostitutes. With Nashville operations housed in space on Belmont’s campus, fashionABLE empowers these Ethiopians by allowing them to make and dye scarves that are sold across the United States. With Belmont Enactus assistance, fashionABLE now employs 25 women, has doubled its annual revenue to $333,000 and increased its retail outlet presence from 70 to 254 outlets.
• Conceptualized by team member Andrew Bishop, PhilanthroTeach provides job readiness training for Nashville’s unemployed and economically disadvantaged citizens by matching their needs with the skills of local academic and business professionals. Through Belmont Enactus, PhilanthroTeach developed an eight-week skills program, created a formal operating and marketing plan, recruited a board of directors and obtained 501(c)3 status. To date, more than 500 Nashville residents have been trained through PhilanthroTeach programs.
Belmont’s team previously took third place in the 2010 SIFE World Cup.
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.