Project Showcase

Enactus and Walmart are proud of the real progress Enactus teams are generating through the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Accelerator. Here you can read project summaries from the 2015–2016 National Grand Prize Winners. 

Brazil

First Place – Leão Sampaio Faculty Enactus (Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil)
Beginning in August 2015, the Enactus team at Leão Sampaio Faculty created their WEE project to teach a group of 20 female entrepreneurs how to produce and sell baked goods to generate income. This venture utilizes discarded fruit that, while unsold, is still fit for consumption. The Enactus team implemented weekly training sessions, covering a variety of areas, including baking, food safety, recipes, sales management and production. Each session provides an opportunity for the women to ask questions and discuss their progress from the previous week. Still in the early stages of their project the team was able to increase the business’ revenue by over $500 in just three months.

“We had no income and lived in the house, being dependent on our husbands. We now have in mind that we can be masters of our own business, not depending more of our husbands. And the Enactus [students] opened doors for us in a fantastic way. Today we have our much higher self-esteem, we know that we are able to accomplish our achievements, have our income and help in the house.” – Woman impacted by Leão Sampaio Faculty Enactus

Second Place – UniNorte Enactus (Manaus, Brazil)
The Enactus team at UniNorte launched their “Aurora” project in September 2015 to help five entrepreneurial women. Each of the women are recovering from personal challenges, such as loss of a loved one. The team saw opportunity in art therapy to help the women recover from their challenges and build their self-esteem while generating a profit. The women learned how to sew to make products such as towels, decorative pens, dolls and jewelry using repurposed materials. Two trade shows were set up with assistance from the Enactus team where the women sold their products. Since working with the team this year, the women have generated over $4,500 in revenue.

“I feel very grateful for everything and today I can say that I feel much better, and found a passion at the same time generates me income.” – Woman impacted by UniNorte Enactus

Third Place – University of Sao Paulo – Campus São Carlos (USP São Carlos) Enactus (São Carlos, Brazil)
The Enactus team at USP São Carlos partnered with an aspiring entrepreneur, Néia, to help her launch a home-based business. Néia has three children with severe health issues, which requires her to stay at home. After recognizing Néia’s passion for baking, the team suggested she create a baking business “Sweet Beginning.” After working with the team, Néia transformed her hobby into an income by learning business skills, including purchasing, inventory control and sales. Now, “Sweet Beginning” has a brand with regular orders from local cafes, averaging 50 cakes a week. Most importantly, Néia is able to stay at home with her children while generating a steady income to support her family.

“[Néia] is 35 years old and has three children, who suffer from severe respiratory problems. . . Néia was searching for a job that allowed her to stay more time at home with her children. . . We managed to fit her love for cooking with her need to stay at home and created a label called “Doce Começo” . . . Although the economic empowerment [is the] center of the project and it was the reason Néia first met us, as we asked her about what changed in her life since she came on board, she did not mention the money she was making. She told us that her self-esteem was back.” – University of Sao Paulo – Campus São Carlos (USP São Carlos) Enactus

Canada

First Place – University of Windsor Enactus (Windsor, Canada)
The Enactus team at the University of Windsor continued their WEE project from last year, CookStart, Inc. The team aims to help food-entrepreneurs transform their culinary dream into a reality, as well as aid immigrant women in job skills training through food-based initiatives. CookStart, Inc. has two divisions: CookStart Consulting and Tableside. This year, 35 participants completed the CookStart consulting program, resulting in five women launching their businesses and five existing business owners to increase their revenue. The women participated in weekly consulting sessions, which included product development, marketing, pricing and training from a professional chef. Together, these women increased their income by over $30,000. Through the team’s Tableside initiative, two women who previously depended on social assistance produced, packaged and sold over 2,000 dried soup mixes made with surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.

“I came to Windsor from Egypt with my family to find a better life and more opportunity. When I came here I was told why did you come here, there are no jobs. I said, it’s ok, I don’t need a job. I can create one. This led me to CookStart, which helped me turn my dream of bringing food from Egypt to Windsor. I now have a business name, logo, marketing materials, tested product, and will be selling in farmer’s markets this May. I am excited about providing stability for my family and creating a better livelihood.” – Woman impacted by University of Windsor Enactus

Second Place – University of Ottawa Enactus (Ottawa, Canada)
University of Ottawa launched their WEE Project, REVEER, to provide transitional employment opportunities for immigrant women to gain experience in the fashion industry while learning transferrable skills to secure employment or launch their own ventures in the future. The women partake in a sewing program where they learn to make fashionable backpacks entirely made from repurposed materials. During the program, the women receive training in a variety of topics over an eight-week period, such as financial literacy, management, marketing and retail practices. The Enactus team created a franchisable program and enterprise package, enabling women to launch their own micro-backpack-business. This year, 12 women were empowered to make and sell these reusable backpacks.

“Seeing the personal development of our beneficiaries is by far the greatest part of the project; graduates who go on to become entrepreneurs and then go on to revitalize the livelihood of their entire family.” – University of Ottawa Enactus student

Third Place – University of Calgary Enactus (Calgary, Canada)
The team’s WEE project, Empower, is a nine-week program designed to teach immigrant women the required business skills to launch their own business in Canada. The goal of the program is to help women leverage their existing skills to create businesses to ultimately improve their livelihoods. This year 14 women received training in areas such as marketing, budgeting, financing, staffing and building a business plan, while being paired to an Enactus student mentor for one-on-one assistance. At the time of reporting, two businesses were launched and successfully operating, with more on the way.

“It’s not a secret that immigration is not an easy process. . . I have Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and also I have 8 years of experience in telecom industry, so I never thought that I can have difficulties with getting a job. However it happened. . . The [WEE project] is amazing, very informative and precise. After the graduation I felt confident and could open my business. . . I’ve been having my business for 1 year and I already had 74 clients.” – Woman impacted by University of Calgary Enactus

China

First Place – Shandong University of Finance and Economics Enactus (Jinan, China)
The Enactus team from Shandong University of Finance and Economics impacted a cooperative of 53 women by teaching them how to produce and sell handicrafts made from straw patchwork. The project equipped the women with business education while helping them add modern elements to the traditional art. The team focused on empowering the women to run the venture independently, teaching them how to design, produce, manage and sell the products on their own. In just the last year, the cooperative increased revenues by over $70,000.

“[The Enactus team] came to invite me into a project called “Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Partnership,” an Enactus program sponsored by Walmart. They said [they] could help me to learn skills and even set up my own business. . . At first, I had no idea about how to design, produce nor sell. But soon, Enacters found an artist to introduce straw patchworks production to me. In the meantime, they asked teachers from their university to teach me management and marketing. I couldn’t wait to run my own business. . . I gained my first income since the studio was established.” – Woman impacted by Shandong University of Finance and Economics Enactus

Second Place – Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics Enactus (Nanchang, China)
Continuing their WEE project that launched two years ago, the Enactus team at Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics assisted the Yonghonggan Hair Embroidery Company. This year, the team focused their efforts on helping Ms. Tao expand her business by increasing production and online sales. The team helped Ms. Tao launch a new website where customers can purchase her products through e-commerce. The team also provided entrepreneurial training to Ms. Tao’s employees who were interested in franchising, which has the potential to help both Ms. Tao and aspiring entrepreneurs to increase their incomes. As a result of the project this year, Ms. Tao increased her revenue by over $30,000.

“I got in touch with the Enactus JUFE team though the government 2 years ago and I am very indebted for the assistance from them in the past two years. These team members are so patient and intelligent. . . the company’s profit has increased by 11 percent with the help of them. . . [my employees] enjoy the direct increase in economic income, and on the life quality level.” – Female business owner impacted by Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics Enactus

Third Place – Zhengzhou University of Light Industry Enactus (Zhengzhou, China)
The Enactus team at Zhengzhou University of Light Industry created their WEE project to help a group of small-scale, female farmers from the Huangheqiao village. The team equipped the female farmers with improved agricultural techniques, taught the women how to market and sell their products online, expand their CSA distribution sites and host public events on the farm to increase customers and revenues. Since working with the team this year, the farm attracted 400 additional customers and increased revenues by over $24,000.

“For some reason, the Enactus [team] made research in our village. . . Considering their good manners, I decided to make more contact with them. After that, they have taught me how to use Internet to stock-up. I can print the delivery list and invoice the supermarket. Besides, I began to [be] aware of the fluctuating price of vegetables in order to fetch a good price. Now, with the money I owned, I bought myself a Wuling Motor, which is convenient for my good delivery. All in all, those children in Enactus are thoughtful indeed. They have brought big change to our life.” – Female farmer impacted by Zhengzhou University of Light Industry Enactus

India

First Place – Indraprastha College for Women Enactus (Delhi, India)
Since 2014, the Enactus team at Indraprastha College for Women has worked with female entrepreneurs to revive the traditional art of Aipan, a form of painting using red dye and rice paste. The team taught the women how to apply Aipan designs on modern products, such as vases, canvases, bookmarks and journals. The women’s products are sold online and in handicraft shops. In addition to artistic training, the women learned basic business skills such as budgeting, banking and using mobile phones and computers. Now the women not only produce Aipan art, they also keep track of orders, coordinate deliveries and manage bookkeeping for the business. The team provided entrepreneurial training to 37 Aipan artists, increasing revenue by over $1,000 in six months.

“When I was first contacted by the Enactus IPCW team, the idea of reviving Aipan inspired me and I wanted to do something for myself as well as my family by reducing the financial burden on my sons, who had been supporting the family after my husband died. . . Seeing my work being appreciated by so many people gives me immense satisfaction and self-confidence. The money I earn from my work has helped me in times of need.” – Woman impacted by Indraprastha College for Women Enactus

Second Place – Miranda House Enactus (Delhi, India)
Through their WEE Project, Zaffran, the Enactus team at Miranda House created a business model to assist 15 underprivileged women, including widows, to earn income by producing and selling spices. The women are provided training in areas such as accounting, marketing, purchasing, packaging and selling. The spices made by the women appeal to local customers looking for affordable, pure products. The team also helped the women earn a license from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, which further increases the value of their products. Before the project, some of the women had zero economic independence. Now, they are not only generating income, but transforming into capable, independent entrepreneurs.

“With the Walmart Foundation Women’s Economic Empowerment Project, we have been able to expand our project and have been able to involve more women under the brand Zaffran. Zaffran for them is not something which has given them employment; rather it is a brand which has given them the wings to fly high and explore their capabilities, break domestic and societal barriers and to stand up on their own feet and become independent.” – Miranda House Enactus

Third Place – Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies Enactus (Delhi, India)
The Enactus team at Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies launched Project Udaan to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban India by creating computer centers owned and operated by women entrepreneurs to provide computer access and training to rural populations. To secure equipment for the centers, the team crowdfunded and refurbished donated computers. Seven women were equipped with the skills needed to run their own computer center, including finance, technology, bookkeeping, marketing, recruiting students and business management. This year, the team helped women establish five centers and aims to impact 600 children with computer literacy.

“The entrepreneurial training provided by the Enactus team was the foundation that led to the successful setup of my independent enterprise. . . The team broke down complex information, and always explained the objective of doing things, which made it easier to adopt the ideas. . . I am extremely confident about running the enterprise, about putting forward my own ideas . . . I expect this investment to generate economic returns shortly, and I will be able to provide for my family as well.” – Woman impacted by Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies Enactus

 

Mexico

First Place – Mexican Valley University, Lomas Verdes Campus (UVM Lomas Verdes) Enactus (Naucalpan, Mexico)
The Enactus team at UVM Lomas Verdes partnered with 20 women who grow and sell cacti and succulents as a means of income. Before working with the team, the business sold an average of 75 plants per year and showed weaknesses in a number of areas. The team taught the women about cost analysis, inventory control, maintenance of the greenhouse, pricing and branding. The team also introduced a new way to display the plants by creating terrariums made from recycled wood, increasing the product’s value. In April 2016, the women received an order of 2,500 plants. The women have learned how to increase production to meet their dramatically increased demand, which has generated an additional $2,850 in revenue.

“The Enactus team is an aid that we did not expect, we are conscious that there is a lot of work to do but also that we deserve more for our labor, Enactus has helped us more than former people who came and leave, we keep a good communication and work better along.” – Woman impacted by UVM Lomas Verdes Enactus

Second Place – Milenium Technological University, Veracruz Campus (Tec Milenio Veracruz) Enactus (Alvarado, Mexico)
The Enactus team at Tec Milenio Veracruz worked with 71 women from multiple communities who make a living producing and selling biodigesters. The biodigesters use water and organic matter to produce renewable energy. Since July 2014, the team has been training women how to construct, sell and maintain the biodigesters. This year, the team refined the biodigesters to make them more lightweight, making the product easier for the women to handle. The team’s refinements also reduced their cost by 60%. The team works with some very isolated communities; some are only accessible by boat while others have no roads. This social enterprise not only provides an economic opportunity for the female entrepreneurs, but also an accessible energy source for everyday household needs. As a result of their improvements this year, the women generated an additional $966 in revenue while creating 15 new jobs.

“The team has a purpose, but the women are now able to build, fill and sell by themselves. . . We see more than a business, we want them to be sure and confident of their autonomy and capability of being entrepreneurial women.” – Tec Milenio Veracruz Enactus

Third Place – Montemorelos University Enactus (Montemorelos, Mexico)
Continuing their WEE project from last year, the Enactus team at Montemorelos University helped 42 women improve their accessories business: “Donitas.” Through weekly workshops and training sessions, each lasting three hours, the women learn how to produce and sell accessories such as hair ties, clips and bows. The women also received training to manage every area of the business, including production, inventory, financial management, marketing, sales and quality control. The team developed templates and worksheets to help facilitate each session and provide additional resources to the participating women. Since working with the team, the women have established key distribution points for sale, generating an additional $2,500 in revenue this year.

“I personally feel very happy in this Doñitas group that was created. Every day when I go to work I want to do better for myself. This project has not only helped our group, it has also helped our families and me as a person. My life is changing socially and economically. My dream has always been to send my kids to school and being a part of this project and learning to work I feel confident I will be able to.” – Woman impacted by Montemorelos University Enactus

United States

First Place – Blue Ridge Community College – VA Enactus (Weyers Cave, VA)
The Blue Ridge Community College – VA Enactus team continues to impact women through their BRIDGE program, which started in 2011 through the WEE Project. The BRIDGE program targets low-income single mothers who lack workforce training or education past high school. Eight women participated in BRIDGE this year, each receiving one-on-one mentorship and training in a variety of areas, including financial literacy, computer skills, resume building, interview preparedness, time management and job search assistance. The BRIDGE program also helps women learn the hard skills needed to earn certifications in areas such as Phlebotomy, Nursing and Pharmaceuticals, resulting in seven women earning certifications and obtaining employment this year alone. Due to the BRIDGE program’s successful history, the US Office of Probation have asked the team to upscale their BRIDGE program to 22 other community colleges in Virginia to serve rehabilitated non-violent offenders.

“I learned about the BRIDGE from my Probation Officer who had attended a seminar about the BRIDGE. The BRIDGE sounded like something I could do and people wouldn’t judge me and would give me the opportunity to go to school to learn a trade. In the past I graduated from high school and then got involved with a lot of bad people . . . I ended up going to prison for five years and when I got out it was really hard for me . . . It was really hard to come back out into society and do the things I wanted to and not go down the wrong road again. . . Since I began the BRIDGE I have been able to enroll in classes. Enactus helped me with books and to get a computer and they were the only ones to say yes to me and tell me that I can do this. The Enactus mentor gave me the encouragement to know I could do this and not have to go back to my old life. If I had not found the BRIDGE I would probably would have gone back to the only thing I knew. . . The BRIDGE has given me so many opportunities to change my life.” – Woman impacted by Blue Ridge Community College – VA Enactus

Second Place – Southwest Minnesota State University Enactus (Marshall, MN)
Continuing their WEE project from last year, the Southwest Minnesota State University worked with six women to give them the skills and confidence they need to secure employment despite their criminal records. The Enactus team worked one-on-one with their clients to set short- and long-term goals based on their skills, background and ambitions. The team helps the women prepare for interviews, build resumes and search for jobs while they also receive financial literacy training, healthy lifestyle education, meal plan assistance and affordable housing options. The Enactus team has also formed partnerships with local companies to help match their clients with job opportunities. Five of the six women have obtained employment this year.

“I feel that even though I am a convicted felon it does not stop me from doing the things that someone without a criminal record can do. The Right Direction [the team’s WEE project] has been a huge influence by helping me tell myself to go for it, you can do this!” – Woman impacted by SMSU Enactus

Third Place – Washington Adventist University Enactus (Takoma Park, MD)
The Washington Adventist University Enactus team created a workforce development project to support local immigrant women in their quest for employment. Many of the women had mobility challenges and were unable to seek career resources. The team decided to bring workforce training to the women by hosting meetings at a local library. The team developed three training modules, each lasting two hours, that are repeatable as monthly sets, covering topics such as soft skills, resumes, job searching and mock interviews. Participants are also paired with an Enactus student mentor throughout their training. The team invited participants to two career fairs organized by the Enactus team. As a result, 42 women were assisted and 24 women found employment as of April 2016.

“[One woman] immigrated from Cote d’Ivoire with a dream of creating a better life for herself. Back in Africa, she was a certified nurse . . . She got her CNA certification [in the US], but each time she inquired about a job, she was turned away. Finally, an employer told her she needed a good resume, interview skills, and professionalism skills. . . We polished her resume, demonstrated how [her previous] disconnected jobs would actually help her as a CNA, and practiced professionalism, interview skills, and how to appropriately follow up with an employer. She is now starting her second month as a CNA and very excited about her future.” – Washington Adventist University Enactus