Entrepreneurship in action: Ryerson students making an impact

As many of us breathe a sigh of relief after being done with midterm season, nine students around campus are scrambling to get back into the routine of just going to class.  

These students are part of Enactus, Canada’s largest student leadership development group, and they’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2015 Enactus World Cup.

Enactus Canada is an international non-profit organization that brings students, academics and business professionals together to utilize the skills they have to create entrepreneurial projects across the globe.

Their projects aim to create sustainable solutions to environmental, social and economic problems through bridging business with altruism.

In 2013, Enactus Ryerson won the National Championship and went on to represent Canada in the Enactus World Cup in Cancun, Mexico.

“This year we weren’t presenting, but instead supporting the University of Ottawa who was representing Canada in the competition,” said Ambreen Khan, Enactus Ryerson’s financial literacy program facilitator. “Our main focus was to scale our projects at Ryerson to other countries by connecting with the students from different teams there, as well as connecting with judges and global sponsors to support and grow our projects and to learn from the other national champion teams from around the world.”

The Enactus World Cup is a worldwide competition for the 36 teams that won the national championship title in their country. The event grants competitors with the opportunity to present their social entrepreneurial projects and even gain input from other teams and Enactus executives, while fighting for the world title.

Of the nine students who went, three members stayed for a second week to speak with two universities in South Africa.

They developed a partnership in which they would possibly work together to bring Canadian solar panel technology and infrastructure to South African villages in order to help pump water to homes and farmland.

Enactus Ryerson has travelled to places like Kenya and Peru. They even spent time in Nunavut for their Growing North project, where they built a greenhouse for residents in the Naujaat settlement to increase access to fresh, locally grown produce in order to combat hunger.

These trips happen throughout the year and students are expected to keep up with their school work along with their involvement.

This year, the team consists of 86 members. Membership is open to any individual dedicated to improving the standard of living for those less fortunate and willing to commit themselves into projects that are not guaranteed.

Projects are created by looking at the strengths and passions of their members and finding partners to fund their initiatives. They are made possible through the numerous worldwide connections they build through Enactus, the on-the-ground partners in the project country, and the partners and donors who invest in the organization.

This past spring, Enactus Ryerson was awarded the 3M Canada Problem Solving Project Partnership Best Project, naming them Canada’s Top Problem Solvers in 2015 for Growing North.

The 2016 Enactus World Cup will be held in Toronto.

Below is a photo gallery of some photos that the Enactus Ryerson students provides us with.

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