• 6/10/2013

Number 1 in Germany:

TUM students as social entrepreneurs

150 million of the world's population are not able to buy eyeglasses. The OneDollarGlasses could solve the problem. The project belongs to <link http://muenchen.enactus.de/en/>Enactus München</link>, where TUM students learn to show social commitment and to act entrepreneurially and at the same time – successfully: the team from Munich has just beaten all national competitors with its five ideas.

African children with glasses
A project by Enactus München: the "OneDollarGlasses" might help a lot of people all over the world – here children in Rwanda. (Photo: Enactus München)

"Enactus enables us to combine two things perfectly: We can make a change and also benefit ourselves. There are countless things to learn." Kai Hübner (23) is the team leader of Enactus München. He is from Stuttgart and a student of TUM-BWL in his sixth semester. "Currently, we are active in Burkina Faso. We train micro-optometrists to produce and customize eyeglasses on their own. "A pair of glasses costs one dollar. The glasses are made by hand and with a machine that was developed by Martin Aufmuth from Erlangen.

Taking over responsibility

The student network Enactus München has about 70 active members – and all of them strive to get involved, to take over responsibility and to implement social projects. The team has a clear structure: "We have the same departments that also exist in a company: Public Relations, Sponsoring, IT, Event, Human Resources, Finances and Legal," explains Kai Hübner. It is great fun to see how quickly and directly things can be achieved.

Currently, the students are working on five projects. All of them provide help for self-help and are supposed to operate on their own in a few years time. The essential question always is: Does a project help to raise the peoples’ standard of living, their quality of life?

Beeconomy and fog catchers

Apart from the eyeglass-project, Enactus München also developed "Beeconomy" – a game to teach beekeepers in Burkina Faso the basic economic knowledge for producing honey. "Fog Catcher" is a project in Morocco that focuses on gaining water. Large nylon nets are used to condense fog water. "Smart menu" is a self-programmed software for small gastronomes. It provides basic business management functions such as profit and loss calculation, liquidity planning and pricing.

Finally, the "social inclusion" project is about reducing barriers for students with disabilities. In June, the team from Munich managed to convince the jury at the Enactus National Cup. In September, they will represent Germany at the World Cup in Mexico.

Engineers wanted

So far, most of the members are students of Business Administrations – but this is to change soon. "We are urgently seeking people from other scientific disciplines, especially engineers," says Hübner. "We would be happy to gain different approaches, other lines of thought." Ten psychologists joined the group just recently, providing new ideas and different approaches. For the project in Africa, for example: "The psychologists asked about the peoples’ view of what we do. How do they feel? …things that students of Business Administrations don’t tend to think about too much."

Contact: Enactus Munich, infospam prevention@enactus-muenchen.de

Video Enactus World Cup 2013 - Final Round Competition - Germany

Technical University of Munich

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