Canisius College, Richard J. Wehle School of Business
Category: Engaging a Diverse Community
Location: Buffalo, New York, United States
Accreditation Status: Accredited
Innovation Title: Canisius Enactus Partnership with Migrant and Inner-City Populations
Innovation Statement: Students of the Wehle School of Business partner with both migrant and inner-city populations to understand the challenges they face and develop possible solutions through several impactful student-led programs.
Call to Action
Census College is one of 28 Jesuit institutions of higher education in the United States. A fundamental pillar of the Canisius mission is that students develop the ability to lead and inspire others. These leadership skills are developed and integrated both in the classroom and through co-curricular activities in ways that animate the institution's Jesuit values to serve others and benefit our world. It is this fundamental institutional mission that has inspired Enactus to engage in activities and develop programs that serve others and benefit the community in which we live.
The Canisius Enactus Program partners with both migrant and inner-city populations through several impactful student-led programs. Enactus’ three main projects include:
- Youth Entrepreneurship Showcase (YES): YES teaches underprivileged youths how to start and run their own businesses. It began at George K. Arthur community center on Buffalo’s East Side, where Enactus helped underprivileged teens create a T-shirt screening business. The business expanded to seven different locations and is planning to expand further into all Buffalo city schools.
- Refugee Economic Development Initiative (REDI): REDI is a project in which Enactus helps local refugees adjust to life in America by providing them with the tools to fulfill their entrepreneurial motivations. Enactus partnered with Evans Bank to establish a 30,000 USD loan fund program to help a local refugee open a grocery store on the West Side of Buffalo.
- Sew-REDI: This program is an extension of Enactus’ REDI project in which Bhutanese refugees (mostly women) are taught to earn income by sewing and producing bags, clutches, purses, pockets, and many other products.
Enactus' programs have had an impact in several ways. Its programs have impacted inner-city youth and migrants who were the beneficiaries of the programs through the creation and development of sustainable businesses that have benefited both the entrepreneurs and the surrounding community. The Enactus students engaged in these programs experience a transformational impact. Most of these students have never met or engaged in a significant way with inner-city or migrant populations, and these experiences help students understand the challenges these populations face and the solutions that may exist through servant leadership.