Student Organization Looks to Alleviate Poverty through Entrepreneurship

By JoJo Zamoiski
Outreach and Engagement Communications Intern

When talking to Ruidi Lu about the Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship (APTE) student organization, it's hard to ignore the passion that he illuminates. Lu, a former executive director of APTE who will be graduating with a degree in finance this spring, shared that APTE was created in 2009 at Ohio State with the purpose of gathering students and community members to learn about social enterprise, clean energy and affordable health care.

Lu's experience with APTE started when he joined the Business Builders Club his freshman year. "I saw small business as something that builds a community and it was something that I was interested in being a part of," he said. "APTE builds communities and gives back to communities."

The organization is very proud to host their annual APTE Summit every spring semester. Erin Halleran, current executive director and third-year finance major, says, "The APTE organizing team works tirelessly for about nine months to make the summit happen. Anyone from any year or major is welcome, and the team feels more like a family every day."

APTE speakers Logan Pugh (left) and Paula Haines (right) answer questions from the audience

APTE speakers Logan Pugh (left) and Paula Haines (right) answer questions from the audience. (photo credit: Amjed Osman)

This year, the summit will take place on April 8. During the summit, multiple speakers come to share their stories and experiences with the attendees. Lu appreciates the fact that the APTE team has the opportunity to have dinner with the speakers the night before the event, getting to know the professionals on a more personal level and gaining insight into their lives in a more intimate setting.

Lu also shared that the speaker that he enjoyed seeing most was Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles 4 Souls, a company dedicated to "wearing out poverty." Teaster was able to reach many of the summit attendees by speaking about his story and giving advice to students. For Lu, it was experiences like these that changed his own career goals.

At the beginning of his journey as a student at Ohio State, Lu saw himself pursuing a career in finance and working a desk job at a bank. However, after hearing from Teaster and other impactful speakers, he decided that when he graduates, he would like to use his degree to understand economics on a larger scale. Furthermore, he hopes to continue to work toward a world with less poverty by understanding the global market.

For Halleran, Joe DeLoss of Hot Chicken Takeover made it to the top of her favorite speakers list. "He gave a talk about his second-chance employment model while serving fried chicken. From that day I ended up working with their company for almost a year. Now, they are opening new restaurants!"

The APTE 2016 organizing team after the event

The APTE 2016 organizing team after the event. (photo credit: Amjed Osman)

APTE has many partners throughout the community and on campus such as Cardinal Health and Fisher College of Business. Many of the partners are startups or foundations that are generally interested in social enterprise. Lu explains, "Even those who don't give money to support APTE sometimes still offer to market for APTE free of charge, leaving our signs in their storefronts and having general information readily available to their customers and members."

APTE has had much success since the beginning, and is looking forward to all that's ahead. With a changing world around us, APTE is always welcome to new members to contribute their ideas and time.


Program website: aptesummit.org
Contact for more information: info@aptesummit.org