What started out as a student initiative to spread sanitation awareness has become a sustainable business venture for Kent Center, creating jobs for adults with disabilities.
The acronym ENACTUS doesn’t always roll off the tongue, but what it stands for is perfectly clear. Entrepreneurial Action for Others Creates a Better World for Us All. And Washington College’s chapter has done just that in Kent County. It’s Soap for Hope initiative recently captured the attention of the regional office, which will include the WC’s ENACTUS project in its social media showcase later this spring.
In August 2014, ENACTUS began its Soap with Hope program intending to travel to Haiti to spread awareness and education about sanitation. However, the young entrepreneurs quickly realized that there was an urgent need right in our backyard. So, as plans shifted, they formed a partnership with Kent Center, a not-for-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities, and started a program that would positively impact the local community.
Kent Center and ENACTUS began making plans in early 2016. Kent Center clients would make and sell the soap, collaborating with one another and earning a profit from the sales, too. ENACTUS worked with the organization to create a safe and effective soap formula that was more appealing—both in appearance and scent—than the original recipe used in 2014.
“Without Kent Center, Soap with Hope would never be where it ended up today,” says Kyle Pitts ’19, an international studies and French major (with a business minor) who serves as chief operating officer of Washington College’s ENACTUS. Bonnie Brady, former development director at Kent Center, helped facilitate the collaboration and was vital to the program’s success. Since last May, Soap with Hope is now fully organized and operated by Kent Center. Today the Center continues to produce and sell soap at local events such as Chestertown’s First Fridays and the Farmers’ Market. Kent Center also sells soap at its retail outlet, Hidden Treasures.
ENACTUS USA has 400 teams and 10,000 students. Enactus USA is a division of ENACTUS, the international organization with 72,000 students on 1,730 campuses.
On April 24, Soap with Hope and Washington College’s team will be featured on ENACTUS USA’s Project Showcase across all of its social media platforms. Pitts says that he hopes that this social media feature will “inspire other teams to make a difference in their communities, just as we’ve done here in Chestertown.”
Check out the showcase on April 24 using the links below.
— Meredith Kenton ’19