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Global Enterprise Challenge: Panama Running into Final Stretch at McPherson College

Global Enterprise Challenge: Panama | November 15, 2011 | Comments Off

Just two days after learning the destination for the 2011 Global Enterprise Challenge at McPherson College, students on five teams participating in the challenge have just slightly more than a day to finish developing their plan for a sustainable venture to help in Panama.

The stakes: $1,000 scholarship for every winning team member and an all-expenses-paid journey to Panama to explore making their concept a reality.

Emily James, junior, Westminster, Colo., is a member of team three and said that while the timeline of three days to come up with a venture would be an unlikely “real world” scenario outside of the Global Enterprise Challenge, it gives her an appreciation for just how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time by an impassioned group.

“I’m really impressed by the team that I’m working with,” she said. “I think one of the most important aspects to getting things done well is the people you work with.”

Ashlee Maier, freshman, Claflin, Kan., and team two member, said finding useful information about Panama and clarifying their project proposal on such a tight schedule has been their biggest challenge.

“Learning about some of the issues that Panama has was the most shocking to me,” Maier said. “We take things for granted too much here in our society.”

While Panama has a high per-capita income for a Central American country, the country’s resources are spread with wide inequality. More than one million people representing 37 percent of the population are below the poverty line, with more than half of those in extreme poverty. That poverty has also led to extreme malnutrition among the poor. About one fourth of poor children and one-third of extremely poor children under age five are malnourished. Compare that with only four percent among those above the poverty line. The situation is made more difficult by inequalities in education, employment and health care among the poor, making social progress dauntingly difficult.

Nancy Young, director of marketing communications, is acting as mentor to team five, and said she’s been impressed with the students’ drive.

“From the moment we were given time to talk as a team, we were off!” Young said. “Having four of five team members who participated last year makes for an experienced and motivated group. Win or lose, this has been a positive experience, and we want to implement our idea no matter the outcome on Friday.”

Tori Carder, junior, Eudora, Kan., is one of those team members and was part of the winning team of the Global Enterprise Challenge in 2010, which went to Haiti.

“Our ideas are coming together quite well,” Carder said. “We have a very good base idea, and our hopes are high. Time to change the world!”

Follow all the Global Entrepreneurship Week events at McPherson College at www.mcpherson.edu/entrepreneurship, including the announcement of the challenge winners the evening of Nov. 18.

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