From San Jose, Calif., BYU-Hawaii’s Enactus team took the world stage in hopes of winning the coveted World Cup. Since the group won the title of National Champion at the Enactus United States National Exposition on May 22 in Kansas City, Missouri, they represented the entire United States in the World Cup from Oct. 9 to Oct. 11.
Elvin Laceda, a sophomore majoring in political science from the Philippines, described how the BYUH’s Enactus team went to the World Cup with a clear goal in mind despite the pressure of representing all of the United States.
“We expected to win. If you are in a competition and you have spent thousands of hours preparing, you should expect to win.”
The team lost to Egypt in the semifinals, but Laceda said it was still a significant accomplishment. He explained there were only 12 semi-finalists out of 36 countries that competed and on the Enactus website it placed the United States team in the top 8, meaning the team was in the top eight out of 1,730 Enactus teams around the world.
He attributes their team’s success to their diligent preparation and their faith.
“You do not have to know what you are doing to create something big. Here at this university, we believe everything we do is in the Lord's hands. Everyone has a specific purpose as to why each of us was sent to this school.”
The World Cup
It is a very demanding process to compete in the World Cup, according to Laceda. They would practice at six in the morning almost every day and nine at night. In total, it was over an eight-month preparation. At the World Cup, the team presented for 17 minutes, and depending on the round of the competition, 25,000 people could be watching. After each round judges were able to ask questions, putting the presenters on the spot.
According to Joseph Duano, a senior majoring in marketing and finance from Virginia, the question and answer portion of the competition was the most difficult.
“After practicing hundreds of times, it wasn’t nerve-racking to me. We knew what to expect. What was more nerve-racking was the question and answer portion which came right after the presentation. You don’t know what questions the judges will ask, so we tried hard trying to anticipate and come up with specific questions they might ask.”
He said competing is just a portion of Enactus mission. The worldwide organization has programs in over 17,000 universities around the world, and they are all working towards ending issues the United Nations has categorized through profitable and even non-profitable businesses.
Duano continued, “The word ‘Enactus’ is a combination of entrepreneurial action among us. The main mission is to solve world issues by using entrepreneurial action. Empowering people, how can we use business in a sustainable way to solve world problems.”
The mission of Enactus and the motto of peace David O. McKay set when he established BYUH help drive the team to perfection, Duano said.
“If it weren't for the mission of BYU-Hawaii, I probably wouldn’t have stuck with Enactus, for obvious reasons like the time commitment and the energy it takes, but [Enactus] has changed us. It has brought opportunity for the school and us.”
Although the BYUH’s Enactus team went to the World Cup representing the United States, they also were representing the university and their specific projects. The two projects the group presented were RiceUp and Rubi. Specifically, two-thirds of the presentation was dedicated to RiceUp because it is in phase three, which Duano explained means it is replication. Rubi made up one-third of the presentation because it is still in production or phase one.
RiceUp started because the Philippines farmers were in debt and the team wanted to raise the livelihood of the farmers. Now RiceUp, through the platform Enactus, is more sustainable and it connects farmers with consumers which enables them to profit off of their crops.
Shantall Morales, a freshman majoring in psychology from Mexico said Rubi's goal is to help prevent stillbirths. Rubi is a band mothers wear that monitors the kicks of their babies to prevent stillbirth.
Morales explained, “It is said when people notice the baby hasn’t been kicking, it is because there's something wrong with the baby.”
Rubi does not claim to prevent all stillbirths, but two-thirds stillbirths can be prevented through monitoring, according to Morales. The Enactus part of the project comes in when mothers buy the Rubi band. After they use it, they send it to the Enactus team who sends the band to clinics in developing countries. This enhances the connection between the mom and the baby, and the mom and the doctor.
Morales said she loves Enactus competitions because she can spread awareness about Rubi and also what she learns about the scope of Enactus.
“Enactus competitions have changed my perspective because I thought Enactus was a way to practice business and do a little bit of service, but Enactus is way more than that. It is about looking deep and seeing what is the main problem in your country or the country you want to help. It is actually helping the people to be self sufficient and changing a community.”
Although it seems impressive how BYUH’s Enactus team ranks, Laceda said where the team places is not necessarily an accurate measurement.
“I think we are now on a point where the measurement of how successful a social enterprise is to difficult quantify based metrics. For example, RiceUp is hard to quantify how we are impacting one life.”
Impacting one life is what Enactus comes down to, said Duano. “What it comes down to is the story of the one. Our Enactus here at BYU-Hawaii is involved with many different projects. Our school is more than willing to support any student no matter what department or no matter what background if they want to do something. They will find the support they need. It is open to everybody, no matter what degree.”
Although the team only discussed two projects at the World Cup, there are 11 projects simultaneously going on throughout the 80 students who are registered in BYUH’s Enactus program.
One of the projects is called Morales Design, and Katya Morales, a freshman majoring in business operation and supply chain from Mexico, and her sister Shantall started the project before they joined Enactus. It began as an avenue for Mexican artisans to get a fair price for their work, but now Katya Morales wants the project to do more.
“Mexico is full of so many opportunities. We want to help change that cycle of laziness and vices. For example, your father was a drunk, you are going to grow up thinking that is the only way you are going to grow. After joining Enactus and seeing RiceUp, I saw it is deeper than making money. It is actually making a difference to the people."
Shantall and Katya Morales are still in the planning process with their project, but they want to use education as a way to help people overcome bad habits.
Through Enactus and her own project, Katya Morales said she feels her life is taking a different course. “In last conference, they mentioned whenever you start serving, your eyes will be open and you are going to start seeing what others need. Through Enactus, you will see what is needed in your community.”
She described Enactus as the embodiment of service, and at BYUH the school offers the program for free, which she felt many could take for granted. “Enactus is not just a competition or a class, it is a platform… [Enactus] is giving you the tools, the money, and the mentorship.”
Hidden Camite, a junior majoring in biomedecine from the Philippines said the Enactus program at BYUH is a great blessing. It is open to any student and any major. He encouraged anyone to talk to students at the Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship in the Heber J. Grant building to learn more.