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EU Enactus team uses $1,500 Sam’s Club grant to help local business

Published on Mar 10, 2015 by Paul K. Logsdon

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Evangel University’s Enactus team has been awarded a $1,500 Sam’s Club “Step Up for Small Business Project Partnership” grant.

The project provides the opportunity for Enactus teams to empower a small business to strengthen their foundation for long-term success through improved business practices.

Teams received the grant last fall and will be judged based on project progress in March 2015. The ten best project teams will receive a $1,000 award and one team will receive a $2,000 award.

Evangel students have been using the grant to help Springfield-based U-Link develop and implement a marketing plan to grow its business.

U-Link L.L.C was developed three years ago by Mathew Thomas to provide Internet services to businesses in southwest Missouri.

“The Evangel team is asking the right questions and providing the kind of assistance I have been looking for to move this business to the next level,” Thomas said.

Thomas is a business innovator who won the $5,000 grand prize for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Go Big pitch competition with his “Share a Gig” start-up idea.


Real marketing experience

“The U-Link project gives several of our marketing majors the opportunity to apply what we have been learning over the past several years,” said senior marketing major Grace LaPoint.

LaPoint has been leading the EU Enactus project, and Dr. Dennis Wubbena, professor of marketing at Evangel, has been mentoring the team.

The project team developed the grant request by meeting with the owner to assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and to identify key gaps in the business.

“This is an excellent, technically sound, and competitive business model,” said LaPoint. “U-Link has some key competitive advantages that need to be communicated to the small business target market.”

This is one of seven significant projects that the Evangel Enactus team has developed for this year, according to Bernie Dana, chair of the Evangel department of business.

Dana explained that the team’s initiatives for this academic year include:

  • a community development project with Convoy of Hope
  • a coffee house marketing project with Aladdin Food Service
  • a job preparedness training project with Harmony House
  • a social enterprise development with several retail stores
  • an economic development project in Samoa, and
  • a recycle improvement project in the Evangel academic complex.


About Enactus (formerly SIFE)

Enactus is a corporately sponsored, international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic, and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe.


PHOTO BY: Hannah Beers.