A group of students at McPherson College aren’t just talking about doing something to help those less fortunate, they’re doing something about it.


A group of students at McPherson College aren’t just talking about doing something to help those less fortunate, they’re doing something about it.
“Beyond Isles”, a group consisting of students Tori Carder, Melisa Grandison, Nate Coppernoll, Steve Butcher and Ryan Stauffer, were named the winners of McPherson College’s Global Enterprise Challenge Friday. The challenge was part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which promotes the development of entrepreneurs through worldwide events and is sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation and Enterprise UK.
McPherson College was one of 10 schools participating in the week and has been featured nationwide. More than 30 students signed up for the challenge as individuals, and were assigned to teams. Teams had 10 days to learn about the current situation in Haiti, and develop a plan for a self-sustaining social venture.
During the challenge, speakers were brought to campus to both encourage and educate the students on how to start a business venture and remain successful.
The idea of Beyond Isles was to create a community market that incorporates a physical market for agricultural and clothing products on the ground in Haiti, a global market through the Internet and educating Haitians to continue to develop their skills.
As the winners, all the members of the group received a $1,000 scholarship, independent study credit and a trip to Haiti to turn their idea into reality.
“The core of our identity is liberal arts,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “Today we show the world that liberal arts is more than just a concept.”
The students involved said the things that surprised them the most about the challenge is how much work can get done on such a limited timeline.
“It was amazing how much you could accomplish in 10 days,” said Stauffer.
His teammates agreed.
“It was shocking how much work we got done in the time given,” said Carder.
The group said they had help through several contacts in the Church of the Brethren and Mennonite communities, as well as through a network of more than a dozen Haitians, activists and entrepreneurs willing to help.
Startup costs for the project are expected to be roughly $5,100, which isn’t taking office space and phone service into account. As far as the trip to Haiti is concerned, the group said they will go when their project has a business plan and other details have been firmed up. The college is handing the group’s travel expenses.