Enactus is beginning to pull loose ends of its Charger X ride-sharing project together and expects to be in business by the fall semester.
Issues with the money wire transferring to an app developer in India delayed the entrepreneurship club, which initially had predicted a launch date of mid-April. The students had to add a few weeks for the college to approve the $3,000 transfer, and the developer would not start working on the app in earnest until receiving the money — which still is in neither his account nor Enactus’.
“The money’s floating at the moment,” team member senior Michael Ferrell said. “There was an issue with the bank, and it has to bounce back to us before we can resend it.”
He is tracing the funds right now and said he anticipates the semester will end before he can recover and resend the money.
“It’s kind of out of our hands at this point,” team member senior Rachel Moore said.
Co-president senior Tucker Phillips said once the developer receives the money, it will take him 40 days to create a working app — meaning he will likely finish during the summer.
Charger X is the entrepreneurship club’s Uber-like program that would connect students in search of rides in Hillsdale, in the surrounding area, and to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport with other students registered to drive.
But the team has a few steps before it can officially launch the app, Ferrell said. It must iron out the bugs, a multi-week process involving a mini-launch and communication with the developer, who is contractually obligated to fix bugs for up to a year.
Team members also need to open a bank account for any revenue made from the app.
“After this project is started, we should be able to make enough money to start other projects,” Co-President senior Victoria Tran said.
The team ran into another roadblock a month ago, when the state of Michigan enacted a new law placing registration fees on ride-sharing companies. These fees would have been prohibitive for a small enterprise like Enactus, so Phillips said the club applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. This application process can take several months, Phillips said.
“If we are a registered 501(c)(3) by Thanksgiving break, I will be happy,” Phillips said.
In the meantime, Enactus can operate as a nonprofit.
Despite the setbacks, Moore said she’s excited.
“Even if it’s next year, we’re going to stay in touch with the new project leaders,” she said. “We might even be able to use the app for homecoming.”