The Wilkes University Enactus team placed in the top five out of 100 schools across the United States participating in the Sam’s Club Step Up for Small Business Project Partnership competition, partnering with Daniels Contracting of Wilkes-Barre. The team also placed second runner-up in its league at the Enactus national competition.
Team members for the 2013-2014 academic year include Dominic Manzione, Mark Vancosky, Josh Rodriguez, Jeremy Wiest, Eddie Powell, Jacqueline Escobar, Kristie Spinello, Tory Price and Jess Batchler.
The Sam’s Club competition required participating teams to partner with small businesses and provide consultation and marketing services. The students were then tasked to empower their partner companies to implement new business strategies and project the plans’ five-year impact. The team partnered with Phil Daniels of Daniels Contracting, an independent firm located in Wilkes-Barre that renovates apartments for student housing and provides emergency contracting services. The team chose Daniels’ business because of the services he provides to students and his volunteer work to help clean up the area around the University.
The Wilkes University Enactus team members participating in the Sam’s Club competition included Manzione, project leader, Vancosky, alternate project leader, Rodriguez and Batchler. The team also received assistance from Price, Wiest and Spinello. Sam’s Club issued the students a $1,500 grant, which they used to purchase QuickBooks for Mac. Then they contacted the local Small Business Development Center to instruct Daniels on how to use the software to better manage his finances. The students and Daniels also purchased an enclosed utility trailer which they renovated with shelving, lights and a workbench to provide Daniels with a portable equipment storage container and eliminate the need for multiple trips between job sites.
In order to better market the business, the students detailed Daniels’ business and contact information on the trailer’s sides, helped him place an ad in Yellow Pages to increase community awareness of his emergency repair services, and turned to social media and Wilkes’ radio station to advertise and market his services to local college students.
The Enactus team estimates that it has saved Daniels nearly $990 in the first three months of implementing the new business strategy, improved his time management to enable him to commit an additional 32 hours per month to renovation projects, and marketed his services to approximately 8650 potential customers. In addition, the team projects a 14.6:1 return over the next five years on its initial $1,500 investment into the business.
At the Enactus 2014 National Competition, the team placed second runner-up in its league in the quarter final round for five projects that the students completed during the 2013/2014 academic year. In addition to the Sam’s Club competition, the projects included assisting the Thrive Wellness Center, a holistic healing center in Kingston, Pa., with balancing environmental issues with growing sales and creating profits; the Wilkes University Entrepreneurial Experience Business Plan Competition, an annual event which invites student teams from area high schools to receive business skills mentoring from Enactus members and then compete for scholarships to Wilkes University; the Campbell’s Let’s Can Hunger project partnership, during which students donated 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food to the local Salvation Army and educated the local population on ending the hunger cycle; and volunteering at the Ruth’s Place women’s shelter to provide job training and professional development skills to residents.