1. GROUNDS FOR GROWTH
Project Manager: Josh Kirby
This past semester, the foundation was laid for Grounds for Growth to really take off. This semester, Grounds for Growth is looking to turn our operations into a full-blown business! On the business side, our two major goals for this semester include perfecting our online sales platform and launching a major marketing campaign to promote our product. To support these two goals, we are also looking to increase our product quality, determine a cost-effective delivery method, and find ways to encourage repeat customers. On the educational side, we are hoping to renovate our teaching materials to make the residents part of our business decision-making process, as well as present actionable, pertinent lessons they can take with them into the real world! If you feel passionately about any of these goals, want to work directly with the people Illinois Enactus helps, or put into practice what you've learned in school in a real-life 'start-up' environment, G4G is going to be a fun project to be a part of this semester!
Soap workshop and class: Fridays from 10am-12pm
2. OPERATION FORWARD
Project Manager: Yasmine Gordon
Illinois Enactus will be working with Courage Connection for the seventh semester this Spring. The Operation Forward project last semester focused on a revision of the workshops to include more guest speakers for the vocational training program, the creation of a new video for the GoFundMe campaign, and researching/vetting de-linking partners as well as a new beneficiary. This semester Illinois Enactus will continue the partnership with Courage Connection and its Executive Director, Isak Griffiths. This project strives to facilitate Courage Connection in building the most conducive environment for the clients to realize their potential and independence. We really focus on personalizing the program to each individual, and we can see the direct impact that our program has on each person in the program as they progress throughout the weeks.
The team will be hosting workshops at Courage Connection ideally from 5-7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
3. PROJECT OASIS
Project Manager: Hamed Kadiani
Project Oasis’ mission is "To welcome immigrants into the Champaign-Urbana community by increasing access to the resources needed to achieve a better life." The immigrant population in the CU community has lacked a centralized resource to assist them in an easier integration to the community, and Project Oasis seeks to fill that gap. Through the use of the project’s website (http://cuprojectoasis.com/) and partnerships in the area (University YMCA, La Linea, the Latino Partnership and the Urbana Free Library), we are working to expand knowledge of the resources available, and ensure a smoother transition into living in Champaign-Urbana. This semester we will be focusing on adding resources to the website and expanding our partnerships. Anyone with experience or interest in community outreach and research could greatly benefit from this project.
4. STAY GLASSY
Project Manager: Moumita Sahoo
Stay Glassy is a glass-waste reduction project that aims to create a sense of community awareness about recycling household materials and living a more sustainable lifestyle. This is done through workshops that that we teach at local schools and stores. The workshops will provide information and resources about the impact made by recycling glass, as well as a chance to repurpose glass bottles into beautiful cups, candles, and other cool items. This semester, we will be reaching out to bars in the Champaign-Urbana area to collect their used glass bottles and repurpose them into usable drinking glasses for up-and-coming restaurants and other groups. We are also looking to expand our project by having more workshops in order to reach a bigger audience
5. DECREASING THE DISTANCE
Project Manager: Erin McKee
Decreasing the Distance is a project that aims to sustainably improve access to clean water in third world countries and create a business opportunity for locals by using 3-D printers to create portable filters for water bottles. These filters will ideally screw into the top of a water bottle, filtering water instantly with materials that are easy to source and cost-effective for an entrepreneur to make.
We will spend this semester establishing potential contacts in different countries to determine where we should market our product and then doing a marketing analysis on this region. Additionally, we will use the 3-D printers at the MakerLab in BIF to create prototypes of our filters and test them for effectiveness. At the end of the semester, we hope to have a working prototype and an established partnership with a community in need where we will be able to produce and distribute our product. Anyone with interest or experience with 3D printing and applying it to business like scenarios could be a great fit for this project. Additionally, anyone with a background in biology would also be beneficial.
Project Manager: Kyle Gilmore
H2Grow plans to embark upon aquaponics research at the University of Illinois Plant Sciences Laboratory’s greenhouse units. In short, aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture—the raising of fish—with hydroponics—the soil-less growing of plants—in order to grow fish and plants together in a single integrated system. This research is taking place in hopes that it can be applied in our local Champaign-Urbana community, which in many areas is considerably affected by a scarcity of healthy produce, coupled with a lack of economic opportunity. As part of this aquaponics research, the team will be looking at the application potential of the aquaponics system, which is fully-constructed and ready to operate at the beginning of the semester. These metrics include vegetation output, fish output, and total economic value, among others. If deemed successful following the research period, this model will be put into practice in local food insecure areas in Champaign-Urbana through a partnership with Prosperity Gardens, a non-profit organization focused on community gardening and food insecurity. Once established in the community, applied aquaponics will allow residents greater access to fresh produce in the center of urban areas, while also allowing growers a new form of revenue and economic opportunity not yet realized in the local economy. Any engineering background would be beneficial, but as long as you are eager to learn about the system, and have an entrepreneurial desire to translate research into real community application, you will benefit from this project.
7. EN-ABLE-ING ENTREPRENEURS
Project Manager: Amanda Hedberg
This project seeks to empower adults with disabilities to start their own businesses, thus narrowing the unemployment gap for those with disabilities and increasing community employment. We are currently working with our primary partner, the Developmental Services Center, to start a program so their consumers can have the resources to start their own businesses. We hope to implement this program at multiple service providers so more adults with disabilities have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.
This semester, we are continuing to launch our first business with 3 consumers: CSD Custom Printing, a t-shirt printing shop in downtown Champaign. We will meet with the consumers twice a week on Mondays from 12:30-1:30pm and Friday afternoons after 1:00pm to teach them the operational side of running a business, from inventory tracking to marketing to accounting and finance. Project associates will help formulate a sustainable curriculum that can be applied to all businesses, work directly with the consumers to teach hands-on skills, and determine how to keep CSD Custom Printing (and the project) sustainable. Anyone with experience or interest in working with the disability community or heat transfer printing could greatly benefit!
Meeting times with consumers: Monday 12:30-1:30pm and Friday afternoons (after 1:00pm)
8. LEAN & GREEN
Project Managers: Akshar Patel and Vivek Gupta
Project Lean & Green gives low income families in the Champaign-Urbana area opportunities to get more nutritional food at a discount. This project is focused on implementing a app and a web based application that will list perishable foods at local grocery stores that are nearing expiration dates. Perishable foods that are thrown out tend to be fruits and vegetables, so people that buy them will receive more nutritional value in the things that they eat. By using this app to better market these perishable foods, we will be empowering low income families to allow them to eat better foods and lead healthier lives.
Potential expansions for this project include a delivery service with fully prepped meals in order to further our impact. We plan to offer pre-prepped, ready to cook meals in a similar fashion to a service like Blue Apron or HomeChef. The main objective over the next semester is to develop 5-6 simple, healthy recipes that cost less than $3 per portion. These recipes will be developed and the meals will be prepped by members of the Lean & Green team initially, but the project will register as an L3C organization and begin generating profit. These profits will then be used to hire staff and prepare for delinking from Illinois Enactus. If you are interested in coding (SQL, Java, HTML/CSS), technology, or creating recipes then this could be a good fit for you!
9. QUALITY EDUCATION
Project Manager: Khadeeja Salehbhai
Malaysia currently serves as a transition country for many refugees before they move to their permanent countries of residence, usually either Australia or the US. The project will be working with the refugee community in Malaysia. We will be assembling English workbooks that can be effectively incorporated into the refugee school curriculums in order to help ease the students' transition to their permanent country. We will also be teaching the refugee students how to make Batik crafts and looking to make this into a business model to improve the self-esteem, confidence, and practical skills of the students. The semester will also be dedicated to researching further methods to help the refugee students as well as researching a possible mobile school bus model to reach larger areas with refugees. Anyone with interest or experience tutoring, teaching, graphic design or business analytics could benefit from this project.