Student entrepreneurs from all over the world have come to Kansas City, Missouri.
They’re presenting their latest entrepreneurial efforts in creating a better world during the Enactus USA competition, hosted by Hallmark.
"J.C. Hall came to KC more than 100 years ago with a box of postcards under his arm, and that's how he built this global business,” Hallmark PR Strategic Leader JiaoJiao Shen said. "We truly believe that these students are the best and the brightest of college students and graduates right now. They are business savvy. They are socially conscious. They have this amazing entrepreneurial spirit."
“We're an ecosystem of teams that come from colleges, supported by businesses,” Enactus USA President Alex Perwich said. “We challenge students to make a difference in the livelihood of others.”
With 105 teams representing 36 countries, students turn their entrepreneurial ideas into reality.
“We are engaged learning which differentiates these students because they're doing project work. They're doing entrepreneurial work. They're doing real things that are real resume builders,” Perwich said. “They're putting what they learned in the classroom to work and in the process, improving the community, the world and the lives of others, so we're a leader development platform in that sense.”
Student teams prepare for a 17-minute presentation, discussing the work they’ve been doing all year long.
“It makes your heart race a little bit,” UMKC Enactus team member Chad Feather said.
In front of judges, the UMKC Enactus team presented a few of their projects, one of which included business relationships in China.
“We've been working really hard to bring international business to Kansas City,” Feather said. “Our whole goal is to use relationships we've used in China with relationships we have with City Council here, connect those two together to really create long-lasting outcomes that create international business back and forth, bringing jobs and revenue to our city.”
While this is a competition, these are projects that have already been laid out to make a difference.
“Every one of them, whether they're the national champion or not, is truly making a difference in the world,” Perwich said. “So that's a positive, especially in a world that needs some positive energy.”
“We worked so hard all throughout the year,” UMKC Enactus team member Megan Darnell said. “To come here and present, it kind of gives you a moment to take a step back and realize that we're impacting the KC community and internationally as well.”
Students also had the opportunity to talk with senior executives from several different companies at the competition and career fair, with the possibility of leaving with a job before the competition ends on Tuesday.
Four teams will go onto the next round, which will be held Tuesday.
Winners of the national competition will take home $10,000 and represent the U.S. at the 2017 Enactus World Cup in London, England in September.