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K-State Today

January 7, 2013

Helping hand: Kansas communities benefit through work of entrepreneurial student group at K-State Salina

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A total of $3,000 in grants will help Kansas State University Salina's Enactus chapter increase a small town's dining options and assist the women at Salina's only full-time shelter for families and single women.

Enactus, formerly known as Students In Free Enterprise, or SIFE, encourages students to partner with academic and business leaders to use entrepreneurship to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. The name is an acronym for Entrepreneurial Action and Us.

The first $1,500 grant, through Sam's Club Step Up for Small Business Project Partnership, will bring new opportunities to the Tampa Trail Stop in Tampa, Kan., population 112.

"There are 77 households in Marion County with no car that are more than 10 miles from a grocery store," said Oscar Rodriguez, a senior in computer systems technology and technology management, Garden City, and the project leader. "Residents who do have cars had to drive more than 20 miles to get groceries. Buying a gallon of milk required an hour of time in addition to the cost of transportation."

Attending the Kansas State University-organized Kansas Rural Grocery Initiative summit in summer 2012 inspired residents to open Tampa Trail Stop, which offers fresh fruits, specialty meats, bread, milk and more. Now, with Enactus' help, the community-owned, volunteer-run grocery store is looking to expand to made-to-order pizza.

"We'll research vendor options and equipment requirements, as well as help with the final decision on both," Rodriguez said. "We'll also help create a marketing program for the pizza sales including Facebook and Twitter to announce daily specials."

The grant will be used to purchase a microwave, pizza oven and marketing supplies.

Enactus' second grant, the $1,500 Wal-Mart Women's Economic Empowerment Project Partnership, will provide funding for the Empowerment Program at Ashby House in Salina.

"The program will include a series of empowerment workshops delivered by the Enactus team and community partners," said Daison Batangan, sophomore in professional pilot, Waipahu, Hawaii, the project leader. "Women in leadership positions in the Salina area will be invited to speak, share their stories of success and mentor a participant in the program.

Workshop topics include personal branding, goal-setting, small business opportunities, postsecondary education and more.

"Ten women will receive professional clothes for interviews and one will be awarded a scholarship to provide initial funding for college, such as for application fees, registration fees and books," Batangan said. "We want the women who participate in the program to build their skill set for finding employment or pursuing higher education opportunities. We also want the program to help them build their self-confidence."