Enactus – USC: Progress Through Entrepreneurship
Illustration by Zachary Borromeo
Our country’s correspondence to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has led to countless international transactions and friendly relations with Southeast Asian countries, maintaining a permanent stronghold within and through its members. International relationships have been proven to be an advantage to any country, which is why, with a more specific purpose, the Philippines paved its way to an organization that reaches out to countries all over the globe while changing lives through entrepreneurship.
Enactus is an international organization that uses the power of entrepreneurial action to promote global progress. It currently operates in 36 countries and holds an annual series of regional and national competitions to showcase the outreach efforts of participating international teams. Enactus – Philippines currently has 42 teams — one from the University of San Carlos — that immersed in barangay beneficiaries to spread entrepreneurial business plans, also with the intention of uplifting the basic and economic living of the chosen prospects.
According to an online blog, Enactus – USC is driven by its six core values: partnership, imagination, curiosity, determination, courage and accountability – the reasons why the organization continues to expand to other universities in the country while widening the scope of beneficiaries to tend to.
The Community Extension Services (CES) office and the Department of Business Administration of USC express their support for Enactus by allowing a growing number of faculty and students to engage in research-based CES that continue to make a difference in the lives of aspiring businessmen who only have an inkling to what the actual entrepreneurial prism looks like.
CES director Brenette Abrenica said, “Our university, like all other higher educational institutions, envisions to see[ing] more and more of our students getting engaged in the practice of their own discipline beyond the sheltered environment of the university life.”
Enactus Philippines held their annual regional orientation in the USC Buttenbruch Hall last January, organized by its national program director and coordinator Vilma Ocromas to expand their reach to universities in Central Visayas. USC, being the pioneer school in Central Visayas to actively participate in Enactus activities, encouraged other schools like Cebu Institute of Technology – University (CIT-U), University of the Visayas (UV), Mandaue City College (MCC), University of Cebu (UC) and a school from the province of Bohol that was supposedly invited but was unable to attend.
The Enactus Philippines orientation was a whole-day activity that comprised several team-building activities, pep talks and educational discussions about the essence of helping those in need through entrepreneurial skills. Eager teams were formed on the spot and they were given a taste of satisfaction by being given activities that showed the essence of teamwork and charity through education.
Maria Patricia Alvero, a graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, was also present during the event to talk about her experience as a member of Enactus and to show the audience the change that Enactus has brought to the beneficiaries.
Ocromas said that joining Enactus was one of her greatest decisions and despite being the director of the organization, she regrets not having to join it earlier. She encouraged the participants to join at an early age as Enactus “teaches you things you cannot learn in school.” Indeed, this was proven when the USC team joined the national competition in Manila last year with their project entitled GusoPreneurs, a project that aided seaweed farmers from the outskirts of Daanbantayan, Cebu. It was given birth “to provide a swift and direct intervention to address basic needs of and empower the most forgotten and neglected of society.”
In December 2013, the USC team partnered up with Ambit Foundation for the GusoPreneurs project that would serve as a response to the damaged livelihood of the seaweed farmers affected by Typhoon Yolanda. GusoPreneurs is a “sustainable seaweed farmpreneur project.” With its five-fold aim of providing materials for the restoration of livelihood, developing a demo farm for seaweed farming operations, establishing organizations for sustenance, selling directly to the market and providing mentoring programs, the team placed second in the nationwide competition.
Jasmine Dumoran, team leader of GusoPreneurs and a BS Business Administration – Marketing student, said, “Enactus is an organization that can hone my capabilities and skills as a Business Ad[ministration] student. Through the experiences I got, I learned a lot in terms of values and reality. It serves an eye-opener on what is happening now in our country.”
The GusoPreneurs project catered to over a thousand seaweed farmers. Even after conducting only a few initiatives, the impact produced 30 seaweed farmers that are already back to business. The team had already put up a five-block demo farm for experimentation and examination.
Carolinians are known to strive for the best, which is why the team will be joining the national competition again this July 10 and 11 in the hopes of being sent to the Enactus World Cup in Africa, with a chance to have the project funded by the organization.
Other project proposals from the USC team include Kapamilya-Negosyo-Na , which conducts business mentoring programs in Cebu City, and Alegria project, which focuses on the poultry and hog growers in Alegria, Cebu.
In the words of Dumoran, “If you’re a student who is active, flexible and open to any possibilities, [who is] enthusiastic in helping other people with your best capabilities, and who is willing to commit yourself to the organization, then join Enactus – USC.”
The Enactus – USC recruitment will start on the month of July. Further details will be posted in their social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr). Students are told to watch out for school campaigns during the said month. By then, interested students can submit their applications.