Real People. Real Struggles. Real Stories. For 33 years, Enactus NCC has carried out a variety of projects from coloring books and boardgames to small business consultation and advertising campaigns - all with the mission of providing a hand up rather than a hand out. In recent years, we have partnered with a number of cooperatives, family businesses, community based organizations, and educational institutions. Below are some of the people and organizations we are proud to call partners during the 2020-21 academic year.
Conscious Bean Coffee is produced through a partnership with Café Juan Ana, an association of indigenous coffee farmers based in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala. By eliminating several layers of middlemen, the association is able to pay its members twice the price offered on the conventional coffee market. Formed in 2005, our relationship with Café Juan Ana is our oldest existing partnership. Conversations and collaboration with Juan Ana farmers led to our direct trade approach. With a focus on mutually-beneficial relationships and a supply chain that eliminates non-value-added intermediaries, this approach has informed all of our subsequent partnerships.
Through our collaboration with Rafael Landivar Univeristy, we established a partnership with Mirna Rojas, a fifth generation indigenous chocolatier. Mirna is the owner and operator of Chocolate Doña Pancha. Named for Mirna's grandmother, Chocolate Doña Pancha, represents a family legacy of more than 150 years in hand-crafted chocolates. Part chocolate shop, part art gallery, part museum, Chocolate Doña Pancha realizes Mirna's innovative vision along with traditional values instilled by her grandmother. Through Enactus NCC, Doña Pancha's craft chocolates are sold under the Xela Chocolate brand.
The Coffee Lab at North Central College was launched in May of 2019, with the support of North Central College and a generous gift from Probat, the global leader in coffee roasting equipment. The purpose of the Lab is to provide rich, practical learning experiences across the breadth of the coffee continuum (from seedling to cup). With the opening of the Lab, our 15-year direct trade partnership with Café Juan Ana expanded to involve students in all phases of coffee production. Not only is the Lab the final link in the coffee supply chain, it is also a place for engaging campus community events.
Visit the Coffee Lab website for more information:
We are proud to partner with ten indigenous artisan groups based in three highland Guatemala communities. Ranging from small family businesses to cooperatives counting dozens of members, these creative and talented artists work in wood, ceramics, and textiles. Despite their diversity, our artisan partners are united in their efforts to create better livelihoods through adaptation of ancestral arts to contemporary local and global markets. While visiting Guatemala, Enactus students learn about the different artisanal forms as well as the cultural significance of our partners' creations. This knowledge is then shared with our team members and customers.
Community Access Naperville (C.A.N.) is an organization that helps differently-abled adults gain skills that are transferable to the workplace. Once a month, our team invites C.A.N. to NCC to help us package our single-serving coffee pods. This partnership provides C.A.N. members with the opportunity to gain those hard and soft skills before applying to jobs. One recent participant beamed with pride when he shared with us that he was hired at the local grocery store!
Cooperativa Idea is an indigenous-run credit union recently founded in Quiacquix, Guatemala. Home to about 3000 people (and to Enactus NCC partner Ajpu Association), Quiacquix is one of 48 rural communities that surround San Miguel Totonicapán. While Quiacquix is rich in culture and community, income earning opportunities are scarce. Cooperativa Idea offers financial products and services intended to support sustainable community development. Currently, Enactus NCC is translating materials, researching regulations, producing a commercial, and developing an investor prospectus. By recruiting green and socially-conscious investors, we aim to collaborate meaningfully as Idea Cooperative works towards its goal of one million quetzales in deposits.
We saw a need for Enactus teams in our area to receive feedback on projects from industry professionals as well as an opportunity for networking and collaboration. In April of 2019, we held our first annual Project Showcase. In total, five schools presented projects. In addition, social entrepreneur Dennis Barsema provided a keynote on leadership, the University of Illinois presented a workshop, and a networking lunch provided the opportunity to discuss project and team challenges. Awards were given for a variety of project categories including Best New Project and Best Low Budget Project. Enactus Board Members and area professionals served as judges. Topco sponsored the lunch.
Unfortunately, the Project Showcase has been put on hold due to the pandemic.
Self-Employment in the Arts
We've been fortunate to collaborate with Self-Employment in the Arts (SEA) for several years on a variety of different projects. Pictured above was our group at the 20th Annual SEA Conference in Chicago just weeks before everything was shut down because of the pandemic. This year we helped SEA adapt by working alongside them on three different virtual initiatives with the biggest undertaking being SEA's first ever virtual Summit: Graduating with an Arts Degree during a Pandemic, Now What? Held in March of 2021, this event had over 225 registrants from more than 50 different colleges and universities. One of our team members helped with the event from concept to execution with more of our members being on-hand to help moderate the over 35 different live engagement sessions over Zoom. For more information about SEA, visit: www.selfemploymentinthearts.com.