Enactus aims to stimulate local business innovation

Enactus 2016-2017 Executive Board: Mary Vo, Chirag Datta, Taylor Palmer, Faiz Aly, Erica Manning, and James Bronk.

Image: Jayla Moody

Enactus 2016-2017 Executive Board: Mary Vo, Chirag Datta, Taylor Palmer, Faiz Aly, Erica Manning, and James Bronk.

Vanessa Alva, Staff Writer

Enactus is an international organization present in 36 countries where it’s active in more than 17,000 universities. Now, they’ve made their way to Mercer University.

Enactus — “En-trepreneurial, Act-ion, and Us” — is a community service based organization that implements entrepreneurial techniques.

“Instead of just having bake sales or canned food drives, we want to create something — whether it be an app, a system or small business that can sustainably change people’s lives,” said Mercer Enactus President Taylor Palmer.

The club will have an office space in the Mercer Innovation Center, which was previously the Religious Life Center.

The Innovation Center offers students and community members a space and the tools necessary to create entrepreneurial collaborations. The center is partnered with the Atlanta Tech Village and Atlanta Technology and Development Center, according to the Mercer Innovation Center website.

“I’d like for [Enactus] to hold their events here,” said Samantha Lankford, director of the Mercer Innovation Center. “I’d like for them to see this as a clubhouse or a place to study, collaborate and be innovative.”            

Aside from the Innovation Center, Enactus also collaborates with SparkMacon and Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in the community and around the world, according to their website.

SparkMacon is “Central Georgia’s first innovation space, equipped with tools, equipment, and grassroots education that enable users to convert their ideas into realities,” according to their website.

“Basically, we have no shortage of resources, and we want to make sure that we will provide students with anything that we possibly can to make sure that they get their stuff done in the most efficient or sustainable manner,” said Mercer Enactus Vice President Faiz Aly.

The newly-established club has various events lined up for its second semester at Mercer.

“Last spring was more of our introductory phase of introducing students to what Enactus is and what we’re all about,” Aly said. “This year, we have projects lined up where we can start being productive from day one.”

Those projects are aimed at helping a wide range of Mercer students. The club is open to students of all majors. One of their projects is dedicated to providing students and Macon residents with professional headshots.

“Internships often ask for professional headshots or they can use it for their LinkedIn profile,” Palmer said. “We are helping them put their best foot forward in their applications and it is free of charge.”

Other projects include a partnership with Mercer’s Stetson School of Business to host a “Women in Business Day” and a LinkedIn tutorial taught by Mercer’s finance professor Peter Williams, who is a LinkedIn expert, Aly said.

Women in Business Day will focus on showing girls what career opportunities they may have in the business field.

“We’d be inviting high school-aged girls from surrounding high schools to come in, dress professionally, sit through a mock class in the business school, eat lunch with us, listen to a few [members] of [our] wonderful staff speak and listen to a couple of students speak,” Palmer said.

The LinkedIn tutorial focus will be hosted in early November.

“We strongly believe [LinkedIn] is one of the strongest tools out there for anybody,” Aly said. “[It] doesn’t matter what your major is — it helps you meet recruiters and land jobs.”

Enactus is already established in several Georgia universities, such as the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University, according to the schools’ websites.

“All of our missions are the same. We’re trying to help the community with innovative and entrepreneurial spirit,” Palmer said.