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Social project focused on equity, recycling wins ‘Learn for Change’ program

The final round of the AIG and Enactus “Learn for Change” initiative took place recently to guide university students to develop activities and strategies for creating social, economic and environmental solutions in local communities, empowering them and making them more resilient.

The team from the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao won the challenge with its B=Qual project, a business partner venture that seeks to integrate minority groups in the development of enterprises, while promoting justice and equity.

The team developed two companies: Equite, a company that sells products featuring equality themes — with which they supported a home for women victims of gender violence — and Comfy Bum, a company that manufactures dog beds made from recycled tires. For the second project, they integrated a women’s cooperative and a school for adults into the production processes.

Students from 11 universities developed initiatives that promoted the inclusion of people with functional diversity, effective solid and food waste management, food safety, innovative technologies, agribusiness, and technological ventures, among other relevant issues for the island’s socioeconomic and environmental development.

“Thanks to the work of these young people, it was possible to reach more than 2,325 people, invest more than 5,000 hours of volunteer work, and cause an economic movement of more than $125,000,” said Rody Rivera, director of Enactus Puerto Rico.

“In addition, the development of six social enterprises and the creation of more than 25 direct jobs were promoted, which demonstrates the power of business and innovation to create solutions to problems that afflict the island,” he added.

To select the winner, the students presented their impact reports and went through an interview process with AIG executives in Puerto Rico to defend their projects.

“We’re extremely satisfied with the results of this program and our alliance with Enactus, worldwide and in Puerto Rico,” said CPA Agnes B. Suárez, CEO of AIG Insurance Co. in Puerto Rico.

“Three months is certainly a short time to make the projects mature, but we were able to validate the leadership, creativity and ingenuity of these young people and the positive impact they achieved in the different communities where they worked,” she said.

“In this final round, empowered, enterprising young people with real potential for success paraded before us. We have no doubt that they will be great business people or company executives,” she added.

Second place was awarded to Community Sun from Columbia Central University in Caguas, whose project promoted the development of a community market led by local farmers, and third place went to One for the Deaf from Interamerican University in Bayamón, an upcylcing clothing company that integrates deaf youth.

This AIG and Enactus initiative, which was held simultaneously in Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and Canada, now moves on to a global final round, in which the three winners from Puerto Rico will represent the island.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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