The BYU-Hawaii Enactus team placed in the top 4 in the “1 Race 2 End Food Waste” sub-competition at the Enactus World Cup Sept. 26-28. The team were members of the nonprofit RiceUp and said they were able to meet with CEOs of companies like Ford, Coca-Cola, KPMG, and start-up companies from schools all over the world at the competition in London.
According to the official website, the Enactus World Cup was sponsored by big companies such as KMPG, American International Group, and Ford.
Katherine Christensen, president of BYUH Enactus and mentor to the RiceUp team, said the CEOs “care about the students. All of these countries are coming together. We are connected to them so well.”
This was the first year Enactus held sub-competitions, said Christensen. The categories for the sub-competitions were water waste and proper food consumption.
Princess Donato, a sophomore from Qatar studying exercise science, said there is “so much more” than learning in Enactus, which is a weekly class (ENTR 201R - Entrepreneurship Leadership Practicum). “This is the real world. You are still gaining an education and at the same time gaining real life experiences, like connecting with CEOs from other companies and other Enactus teams that have similar projects.”
Christensen said BYUH is the only BYU with an Enactus team, and she expressed feeling the influence her team has been making on people across the globe. She said, “I talked with the team from Singapore, and they remember us [from] when we won second in 2015. I told them, ‘Did you know we have a Singapore chapter?’ And they were so excited.”
Joseph Duano, a junior from Virginia studying business marketing, shared an experience where he networked with one of the executives using a lei. “He asked me if he could get one of those leis, and I was like, ‘My lei is attached, so I cannot get it off.’” Duano went to get another lei he received from someone in Hawaii. After the exchange, Duano said the executive emailed the team with questions about RiceUp and promised to connect them with a major organization in Southeast Asia.
Donato said, “What really motivated me is that a lot of students sent us messages of encouragement.” She also received messages from the farmers RiceUp works with, which she said touched and encouraged her.
She recalled, “I’m doing this not to meet all of these CEOs but … to help farmers. It’s not just changing their lives, but also their families’.”
Christensen talked about the benefits of being an Enactus student. “These huge companies want Enactus students because they have the drive and certain mindset that you just cannot really get from any other person.”
Donato said, “I think that Enactus is like a bridge toward your goal. What I love about it is that [there are] all of these businesses from all these schools [around the] world, but [they’re] not just like business but actually services to other people. There are always other people that are benefiting from it.
“If you have ideas that can change country or even just one person. Enactus is an organization that help you serve other people.”
Sean Somoray, a junior from the Philippines studying business management, said, “One of the things we learned from the conference is that we need to work closely with those other people–those people who are in it for the same reasons and who have the same vision and goals. It’s an opportunity to produce something greater than what we can actually do.”
Duano said getting involved in Enactus and participating in the world cup enabled him to learn “much more in these few weeks than over two years in class.” He said he learned how to communicate in a business setting and how to plan.
Duano’s experience at the cup taught him “how to really connect with different people,” he said. “It changed the way I think about what we are doing for RiceUp ... and what my purpose is as a student and in the future after I graduate.
“It really inspired me to think that there are so many other kids in the world like us that are doing so much good. It helped me realize that the Lord is inspiring so many more people to build his kingdom, not just the saints.”
Somoray said this experience gave him “insight about how to serve others even more” and helped him “realize the greatness of our potential … as literal sons and daughters of God. What you learn though experience is priceless.”
The RiceUp team has been meeting with organizations from all over the world through attending conferences and entering competitions, according to CEO Elvin Laceda. Over the summer break, members presented the project at a conference in Malaysia, a special meeting in the Philippines about informational and cultural technology with agricultural experts from Asia and the Pacific, and placed in the Top 12 at the Student Case Study Competition in Parma, Italy.
Laceda, a biology sophomore from the Philippines, said, “We’re bringing hope and providing a testimony that young people can do something especially in the Philippines. Some people don’t want to be in agriculture, but we want to show that this industry is cool, like agri-‘cool’-ture.”
Laceda said RiceUp was given special recognition by the office of the former president of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo. Also, the Filipino government agreed to collaborate with the team in developing the market system for 4,000 farmers in Lubao to enable market accessibility. “We met with Jollibee, Asia’s largest fast food chain that has 3,000 stores all over the Philippines, and they also agreed to collaborate with our project,” said Laceda.
Laceda said the organization has a mobile app to provide direct communication between farmers and consumers. This will enable farmers to have more income because they have the opportunity to set their own price. Restaurants and household can donate food waste through the mobile app. “For every 10 kilos of food waste is a discount on the purchase of a consumer,” said Laceda.
He explained how the farmers used to belittle themselves because of their job. “They’re advising their children not to be farmers because it is hard and the income is low. The average age of farmers in the Philippines is 55-60 years old. It means the government should subsidize farmers which is more expensive. Part of our project is to also boost the self esteem of farmers and help them realize their importance.”
Laceda said, “If you change one life, you’re changing a whole generation.”