Students in Free Enterprise, the world’s best-known and most successful program helping university students to create community empowerment projects, has changed its name to Enactus to reaffirm its long-standing commitment to using entrepreneurial action as a catalyst for progress.
“Our organization was created almost 40 years ago—long before concepts like micro-loans and social enterprises even existed—in order to prove the transformative power the entrepreneurial spirit can have in people’s lives,” said Alvin Rohrs, Enactus’ CEO. “Our core belief has always been that the same kind of creativity and rigor and accountability that fuels businesses around the world is not only transferrable but actually essential to human progress.”
The organization has pioneered a groundbreaking model that deploys student teams, with the advice and support of academic and business leaders, to design and implement community empowerment projects in 39 countries. “Our organization is built around a core set of principles, rather than a specific formula,” notes Mat Burton Enactus’ Chief Marketing Officer. “Every year we literally create 1,600 ‘innovation labs’—each finding innovative ways to address difficult challenges in communities around the world.”
“There’s really nothing else quite like it,” added Rohrs. “We needed a name that reflected that uniqueness. Something that captured the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels everything we do. We were also eager to create a name that reflected how global this organization has become. Entrepreneurial action is not something that is relevant to a single culture or nationality. What we do is just as powerful in Shanghai as it is in Sao Paulo, just as transformative whether we are in San Francisco or Sydney.
In fact, the name change is only the first step in an aggressive effort to expand the organization’s level of reach and impact. Equally important is the influence Enactus has on the 57,000 students that participate in creating projects each year. The experience has a profound impact on the kind of leaders they become, and the type of work they choose to do in their lives.
“This is a time for leaders who can see opportunity where others can’t, and turn that opportunity into value. Leaders who can look beyond the status quo and bring imagination and ingenuity and a sense of possibility to the challenges of our time,” said Rohrs. “Enactus is committed to fostering that kind of leader.”