Entrepreneurial Action Advances God’s Kingdom

by Camille Garcia ’15

Approximately 27 million people are bound by modern slavery worldwide, 58,423 are chained by homelessness in the streets of Los Angeles, and 32.8 percent of Mexico’s population is debilitated by obesity. Ninety APU students joined together to tackle these societal issues using their business skills.

Azusa Pacific University Enactus students traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, in April for the Enactus United States National Exposition 2015, to showcase three of the five projects they created, which target five causes—homelessness, international development, sex trafficking, environmental stewardship, and healthy living—all in an effort to transform the lives of those in need. Competing against more than 200 universities including Syracuse University, University of Arizona, and University of Chicago, APU’s Enactus team advanced to the quarter-final round, winning third place in their league.

Formerly known as the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), Enactus is an international nonprofit organization that partners with universities worldwide to bring together student, academic, and business leaders to enable progress through entrepreneurial action.

Enactus was established 10 years ago in the School of Business and Management (SBM) under the direction of Daniel Kipley, DBA. APU’s Enactus program is now guided by Tom A. Buckles, Ph.D., who serves as a liaison between the students, the university, and the business advisory board. He also serves as a coach, empowering the students to transform lives by applying skills learned in the classroom to positively impact societal issues.

Abby Wheeler ’15, program president, said the program gives students strong leadership skills and stresses accountability ensuring their success. “I am most proud of the progress that we have made collectively,” Wheeler said. “In just one year, we grew from a small, unknown class on campus with little support, direction, and funds, to one of the largest clubs on campus that is recognizable, supported by several offices, with a sustainable revenue stream to support the work we are doing.”

This past year, APU’s Enactus team launched the International Division of Enactus APU (IDEA), a platform that extends the programs’ projects to global sectors. The division partnered with Outside the Bowl through Mexico Outreach, a nonprofit that develops super kitchens world wide in an effort to help children and their parents suffering from hunger.

For 2015-16, APU’s Enactus plans to launch the My Rescue Professional Development program and implement a nutritional plan throughout the elementary schools in the Azusa Unified School District. Their goal is to recruit majors from outside of SBM by promoting programs and projects at their second annual Fall Fest event.

“Enactus serves as an outlet that allows me to practice my business skills,” Kimberly Byer ’17 said, the vice president of development. “It gives me the opportunity to grow as a leader, as a business student, and has shaped the type of business woman I will be when I graduate.”