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Belmont Students Place Fourth at National Entrepreneurship Competition

Enactus2014After making it past 240 other teams from across the nation to land in the finals, the Belmont University Enactus team came in fourth Thursday at the Enactus USA National Exposition competition, which was held this week in Cincinnati.

Dr. John Gonas, associate professor of finance and Sam M. Walton Enactus Fellow, said, “I am overwhelmed with the passion, innovation and creativity of our relatively young team. They have already conceived and developed some very impactful and sustainable social enterprises, and I am honored that the Enactus sponsor companies graded us as a top-4 team out of 240 that attended the USA Exhibition. Without the tireless efforts of [fellow Belmont faculty members] Cate Loes, Jason Stahl and Nathan Adam we could never have been so well prepared and successful.”

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.

EnactusInActionNational Enactus competitions are held in 36 countries around the world to showcase how the organization’s students are transforming lives and enabling progress through entrepreneurial action. The quality and impact of projects is evaluated at these competitions with expert business leaders serving as judges. From each national competition one team is selected to represent their country at the Enactus World Cup, this year in Beijing, China. Belmont’s Enactus team previously won the national championship in 2010 and 2012, and claimed the international title at the 2012 Enactus World Cup.

The Belmont Enactus  students who presented at this year’s competition (pictured above) were Zoe Dollman, Paul Macedonia, Brennon Mobley, Allie Filipek, Evan Metcalf and Maggie Fincher. The team opened by giving updates on its “legacy projects,” including:

* Belmont Enactus helped revamp the FashionABLE business and raise $600,000 in capital to restructure from a non-profit to for-profit entity.  The business now supplies to more than 370 retail vendors.

* The team worked with 147 Million Orphans to deal with trademark infringement issues, as well as created a “bike across America” campaign to raise awareness and funds for the orphan crisis.

* The Belmont Enactus-created non-profit, Spring Back Recycling, recently added  a new location in Charlotte, North Carolina and has diverted over 60,000 mattresses – that’s 4.5 million pounds of waste away from landfills this year alone.

The team then offered reports on their four current projects:

* Be a Blessing, which uses Guatemalan hand-made bracelets as a revenue builder for an orphanage and families in need in the country while also teaching high schoolers in the U.S. business skills

* A Prison Waste Diversion Program that is projected to divert over 63 tons of trash each year, while also creating a $103,000 net impact through savings and recycling revenues within the first three years

* A math/entrepreneurship training program with 100 Kings that saw students achieve a 27 percent increase in math proficiency scores.  Also, students reported an 88% increase in their confidence in their ability to learn math.

* Strings for Hope, a new non-profit organization that takes discarded strings from instruments and repurposes them into jewelry. This year Belmont Enactus and Strings for Hope founder Laura Wilson partnered with 12 recording artists including Little Big Town, Florida Georgia Line, the Eli Young Band,  Blackjack Billy, and Steven Curtis Chapman.  The artists get to select a non-profit of their choice that benefits hunger relief, education or medical aid with 100 percent of the proceeds going to their charity.  The artists need only to change the habit of throwing away used strings after a show and ask their guitar techs to box and label the strings with their concert information. Strings for Hope showed a 50 percent increase in sales this year, with $10,000 being donated to various charity organizations.