Enactus UH Students Win Second Place at Sam’s Club Small Business Competition
Combining their passion for giving back and business acumen, students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business student organization Enactus placed second in the nation during the Sam’s Club Step Up for Small Business Project Partnership for their work with the Houston Furniture Bank.
Bauer undergraduates Jp Dowling, Alec Walker, Maha Zafar, Hilary Tait, Alyshah Vishram, Shamsah Hirani, Hannah Skoog and Theresa Pham brought home a $5,000 prize and an additional $2,000 for the Houston Furniture Bank.
The nationwide competition required students to create and manage a project for a local small business to provide a foundation for a successful business practice to win one of 100 grants for $1,500 from Sam’s Club. Out of those 100 teams, five were chosen to present to a team of executives at Sam’s Club headquarters.
The Bauer team chose the Houston Furniture Bank as its client, with the goal of creating awareness for its need of furniture donations in the community. The Houston Furniture Bank is a non-profit social business that serves families in need by providing them with beds, tables, chairs and more to transform their government-allotted housing into a home.
The students produced an event kit of both printed material and digital resources, engaging seven major furniture retails in the Houston area to share the information through a campaign called, “We Proudly Support.”
Jamie Belinne, assistant dean for career services at Bauer and faculty advisor for the team, lauded the students for their dedication.
“The students put in a tremendous amount of work meeting with local retailers, developing marketing materials and volunteering at the Houston Furniture Bank,” she said. “Their work resulted in a tremendous growth in not only corporate donations, but also community involvement in the Furniture Bank. I’m excited to see what else they can accomplish as we continue to involve more areas of the Bauer College in helping the Furniture Bank grow to serve even more Houston families in need.”
As a result of the students’ efforts, the Houston Furniture Bank saw a 70 percent increase in furniture donations from corporate sources, totaling 15 truckloads that have the potential to help 117 families fill their empty homes.
Dowling, a pre-business junior at Bauer, said the courses he and his teammates have taken at the college helped them to achieve success.
“Bauer has taught us the work ethic and leadership skills necessary to tackle a project of this scope and see it through successfully,” he said. “The numerous support networks and programs at the Bauer College have helped us achieve our goals in ways we never thought possible.”
By Amanda Sebesta