Menu
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube
 

Enactus Student Organization Combats Food Waste in Community

The University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration student organization Pitt Enactus recently completed a semester-long consulting project with Pittsburgh startup Panacea, an early-stage startup organization focused on connecting local food suppliers with local buyers to get healthier food to more people in Pittsburgh. 

In an effort to end food deserts and food waste in the Pittsburgh community, Panacea partnered with Pitt students to tackle the problem during the past fall semester.

“The main recommendation that we made was to provide a platform that Panacea’s customers could use to interact with their greenhouse network,” says Pitt Enactus member Noah Rosenfeld (BSBA—Finance, Class of 2021). “Customers would be able to rate producers on their produce on the app, similar to other crowdsourcing apps like Uber."

Enactus, an international non-profit organization with hundreds of university chapters around the world, provides a platform for students to use entrepreneurial action to tackle problems in local communities and inspire change throughout the world. Each year, Enactus Pitt, the university's student-run chapter, works on multiple different projects throughout the Pittsburgh region. With the goal of sustainably solving a social, financial or economic goal, Enactus Pitt looks to transform lives and shape human progress in a lasting way.

After Enactus selected Panacea for its semester-long consulting project, members were eager to provide ideas, practice their consulting skills, and compete with each other for the winning project.

Pitt Enactus members were split up into 11 teams, each with four students, and asked to tackle some of the problems facing Panacea. Students were tasked with analyzing the need in the marketplace, pricing and operations decisions, and general research about the challenges that startups face. Teams contacted local restaurants and major players in the Pittsburgh food industry to conduct their analysis and develop their proposals. Teams met with the Panacea cofounders, Stefan Vantchev and Hank Wild, once a week to review the direction of their project, allowing students to continually improve their research, consulting work, and presentation skills. By the end of the experience, Enactus students explored new ways to research, work together as a team, ask for professional advice, manage time effectively, and ultimately, produce a product for a real-world client. 

"There is nothing on this campus like it," says Junior and Pitt Enactus President Jake Glasl (BSBA-Finance and Economics, Class of 2019). "If you want real-world experience, we are the student organization for you." Glasl has been president since 2017, guiding members as they participate in consulting projects with nonprofits, investing in venture funds, and organizing innovation competitions on campus.

Pitt Business offers 23 professional student organizations across a wide variety of areas, including accounting, finance, investment management, human resources management, marketing, fashion business, as well as groups dedicated to women in business and multiculturalism in business. 

“At Pitt Business, our mission is to take students from the classroom, to the city, to the world, and active participation in a student organization, like the projects undertaken by Enactus, are an excellent example of how students gain hands-on experience in applying the business concepts they are learning toward solving real-world problems,” says Audrey J. Murrell, associate dean of Pitt Business and director of the school’s David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership. 

 Glasl says the biggest takeaway from the consulting experience with Panacea is that "No two people solve a problem in the same way." The Pitt Enactus president also noted the immense amount of resources available to students in the Pittsburgh region. He says Enactus members also learned a timeless lesson: "You just have to contact them and ask for help." 

In the spring 2018 semester, Pitt Enactus will work with Pittsburgh-based company Matrix Solutions on another semester-long consulting project. Matrix Solutions is an organization that offers software technology to media outlets. The company will introduce a new product later this year and is partnering with Pitt Enactus to assist with customer discovery and product positioning.

For more information about joining Enactus, please contact Jack Glasl at jtg50@pitt.edu.