Cranberry project helping underemployed individuals

Frank Gale
Published on November 2, 2013
Bethany Russell, left, president of the Bay St. George Enactus Group and cranberry project leader; and Walter King, lead cranberry salesperson, show bags of cranberries being sold through an Enactus entrepreneurship project.
Star photo by Frank Gale

STEPHENVILLE  Walter King loves his role in a social micro-business project aimed at educating underemployed local individuals on entrepreneurship and business management practices.

This fall, the Bay St. George Enactus team has undertaken this entrepreneurship project, which uses the harvesting and marketing of locally produced cranberries from the Lomond Cranberry farm as the teaching tool.

King’s role was to help pick the berries, but he is also heavily involved in selling them at several venues and even on the side of the road.

“Cranberries are good for lots of things — to make jam, put in muffins and cakes and can even be used to make juice,” he said.

It’s no fluke that King is involved in this project as he has been picking and selling different types of wild berries for years, so when the idea of the project came up, Shawn Tilley, business marketing instructor at College of the North Atlantic, knew right where to go as he has been purchasing berries from King for some time.

Tilley said the Bay St. George campus has had an active Enactus team since 2002.

Enactus Canada is a community of student, academic and business leaders enabling progress through entrepreneurial action.

Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus Canada create and implement community empowerment projects and business ventures in communities across the country.

Through this particular project, all profits from the cranberry sale go to the underemployed individuals in the local area who participated in the project with the goal of developing a sustainable small business for the project participants.

The project is divided into four phases, including: harvesting and bagging by the project participants; test market using several different sales methodologies; analysis of the test market; and an entrepreneurship education session with the project participants facilitated by the Enactus team to identify best-practices and other issues associated with making the project sustainable for the participants.  

The project is run as a test market with selling taking place through a partner local retail establishment – Ozzie’s General Store in Cape St. George, online through Facebook and email, road side selling, and at the College of the North Atlantic’s Business Studies Craft fair.  

In addition to Walter King of Stephenville, the other business participants are his brother Ben King of Stephenville Crossing and Jordan Young of Robinsons. Walter has taken the lead on the sales aspect and has sold the vast majority of 70 bags of cranberries.

Bethany Russell, a second year Business Administration student is the Enactus project leader, while Tilley is the faculty advisor. The project started on Oct. 6 and is to be completed sometime in December, once all the cranberries are sold.

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