Gem State Business Club Wins Regional Competition Will Represent Idaho at National Competition in May
Gem State Adventist Academy business club, known as “NETWORTH,” came in first at the regional SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) competition held at Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) in March.
“Ecstatic is the only word to describe my excitement," said Cinthya Hererra, NETWORTH chief marketing officer. “We worked hard for this moment, and we are actually the champions now!”
From here, the team will compete at the national level in Buffalo, N.Y., at the end of May. “Competition will be much stiffer at this level,: said club sponsor Debra McCarver, "but we are energized now with this first win, and I’m confident our projects will compete with the best teams in the nation.”
The business club just returned from a 10-day trip to Cambodia where they were instrumental in launching an international company, Khmer Krafts LLC, which will make and sell exotic Cambodian products such as purses, pillow covers and clothing in Cambodia, the United States and around the world.
“Our inspiration for the project came when we met Setan Lee, a survivor of the killing fields, and heard his story,” said Katie Garner, club president. “We were especially interested in the trade school his ministry supports that teaches sewing and computer skills to Cambodians.”
The group decided to help when they learned that Bob and Kay Petrick from Baker City, Ore., had a vision to provide a company that would give the trade school graduates employment while funneling 50 percent of the profits back to support the trade school.
So began a great adventure for five Gem State students and the president of NNU’s SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) club as they raised thousands of dollars in only six months to fund both their trip and several other humanitarian projects including:
• Working with Khmer Krafts to write a business plan, inventory products, structure pricing, set up accounting systems and take photos for Web site sales.
• Providing school supplies for more than 1,700 Cambodian elementary students.
• Distributing more than 10 tons of rice to feed starving Cambodian villagers.
• Participating in a child feeding program.
• Hosting Christmas in February for more than 600 children through distribution of Samaritan's Purse gift-filled shoeboxes.
• Attending and performing for trade school graduation.
• Participating in the dedication of an orphanage, which brought incredible joy to the children.
“It was amazing to watch the students stretch [the students'] comfort zones and their skills on these projects," said McCarver. “More than just a business project, this trip has given all of us the desire to serve and help those around us. We are excited to take these projects, add a few more and stand up next to the best clubs in the nation in May.”
Cambodian products can be viewed on the new company's Web site, www.khmerkrafts.com. For more information, phone (208) 459-1627.