JCU Enactus Team Wins National Contest and Heads to Silicon Valley

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Congratulations to the JCU Enactus Team!
The John Cabot University Institute for Entrepreneurship is proud to announce that the JCU Enactus team won the Enactus national contest in Italy on June 1, 2018. In October 2018 the team will fly to Silicon Valley in California to represent John Cabot and Italy at the Enactus worldwide competition.

The JCU Enactus Team

The JCU Enactus Team, from left: Giulia Francesca Primo, Gaia Kouki, Alessia Gozi, Costanza Cicero, Laura De Francisci, Peter Ogden, Prof. Riccardo Maiolini

Enactus is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action. It is an experiential learning platform that constitutes a community of university students who work in teams on real projects that create social innovation and impact lives. An annual series of regional and national competitions worldwide allow teams to showcase the impact of their outreach efforts. The winning teams advance to the Enactus World Cup.

The Winning Idea
The idea that won the competition, “Our Common Thread,” is a project that will aid migrants in Rome’s Trastevere community to pursue a job in tailoring through the refurbishing of second-hand clothes, leveraging the 75kg of clothing per year that JCU visiting students leave behind. The vision is to inspire Italy to welcome migrants and provide them with the opportunities they deserve to begin a new life. By giving them the ability to tell their stories through the refurbishing of clothes, the team aims to raise awareness of the importance of acceptance and integration. Key aspects of the project are value creation, involvement of beneficiaries, and sustainability. Ultimately the team hopes to not only execute but expand the project, scaling up to other universities in Rome and other cities in Italy.

The team has already demonstrated its capacity to translate its ambitious dreams into action, securing the support of the Comunità di Sant’Egidio, who will partner with the JCU Enactus team, providing space and expertise. They have also obtained internal support from STAND, the student-run club devoted to creating a sustainable student network that fights injustice. STAND will support the initiative through the collection of clothing on campus.

Team advisors Silvia Pulino and Riccardo Maiolini, both professors of Business Administration at John Cabot, are inspired by the speed with which the students put their thoughts together, developed the idea, did a couple of pivots, established partnerships, and produced a viable, concrete solution to a serious problem.

“We have a lot of work to be done before October” says Prof. Maiolini, “but I am confident that this project will come to life and make a real difference in our community.”

The Winning Team
The winning team is formed by Laura Brogi (Business Administration, 2018), Costanza Cicero (Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, 2019), Laura de Francisci (Business Administration, Economics, 2018), Alessia Gozi (International Business, Entrepreneurship, 2020), Gaia Kouki (International Affairs, Marketing, 2019), Peter Ogden (International Business, Entrepreneurship, 2020), Giulia Francesca Primo (International Affairs, Psychology, 2018), Alessandra Vanoli (Marketing, 2018). They are a good sample of the John Cabot student population: different majors and minors, from sophomore to junior standing,  representing four different nationalities (US, Italy, Argentina, and Syria), but united in their passion and dedication to the project.

“Enactus has been so far one of the best experiences of our lives. The bonds we have made and the people we have met have given us the motivation to keep working hard. We are very grateful to represent John Cabot University and Italy at the World Cup in Silicon Valley next October. Energized with excitement, we are now ready to keep moving forward to prepare for the big day.” (Enactus Team)

An Entrepreneurial-Minded Community
The creation of the JCU Enactus team is emblematic of how a tightly-knit, entrepreneurial-minded community responds to opportunity. Allison Szeliga, a visiting student from Rutgers University and President of Rutgers Enactus, mentioned her involvement in Enactus during a Business Ethics class; Prof. Tom Bailey immediately saw the potential synergies and suggested she talk to the JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship. Prof. Pulino, who is also the Director of the Institute, involved the JCU Business Club as the most natural host for a project of this nature; Business Club President Laura De Francisci understood that Enactus could become the focal point for club activities that she had been looking for. A proposal was put together that clearly outlined the strategic fit of the initiative with the university’s vision and mission, the administration approved it and JCU Enactus was born.

“What an incredible accomplishment! I am honored to have helped with the foundation of a chapter that has already made such an impact.” (Allison Szeliga)

“I wanted a signature activity that would distinguish the club even after I graduate, and this is definitely it!” (Laura de Francisci)

Another important factor in the decision to support the initiative and rally resources around it was the immediate rapport established with Marta Bertolai, founder and director of Enactus Italy, who had such faith in Enactus’ potential for social change that she gave up a prestigious job at KPMG to pursue this new dream. Founded in 2016 as the youngest branch of the international organization, the second edition of Enactus Italy has already seen more than 100% growth, with 8 participating universities compared to only 3 the first year, which translates into 120 student members, 11 team projects and 8,000 hours dedicated.

“I had been looking for an international competition that would enable students to test their skills, but was not fully satisfied until now,” says Prof. Pulino. “Enactus fits perfectly with John Cabot’s culture and ideals.”

Watch a brief video about Enactus.

Our Common Thread Annual Report 2018

JCU Enactus Team Biography