Attending the Enactus Canada National Exposition, May 7 to 9 in Vancouver, was a rewarding experience in more ways than one, says Darby Roland, a student at the Odette School of Business and incoming co-president of Enactus Windsor, a student entrepreneur club that creates and operates community social enterprises.
“It gave me the opportunity to network with students, academics, and industry leaders from across the country,” says Roland. The Odette School of Business has championed, sponsored, and mentored Enactus Windsor since 2005.
At the national exhibition, Enactus Windsor projects took top honours in two categories, and were national runners-up in three more, resulting in total cash awards of $16,000 to be re-invested in its projects. Odette student Joey Corio also received a $2,500 bursary for his role as co-project manager for Youthrive.
Youthrive, an online financial literacy curriculum for elementary and secondary school students, claimed a prize for projects that use digital technology to solve social problems. Sponsored by credit card company Capital One Canada, the “Digital for Good” award is aimed at improving livelihoods and financial health of Canadians.
The Youthrive program has engaged more than 650 young people in entrepreneurship, creating 185 eco-friendly youth-led businesses that have generated nearly $30,000 in revenue in just the past year.
A component of the Liberty Project that includes a series of workshops in local schools focusing on issues like mental health, self-esteem, human rights, and violence against all genders and communities, claimed the “Youth Mental Health Project Accelerator” award sponsored by the insurance provider the Co-operators.
The company’s vice-president for sustainability and citizenship, Barbara Turley-McIntyre, says it is proud to partner with Enactus for its first prize on mental health.
“The winning teams are destined to make a lasting impact in their communities, and we want to ensure they have the support to extend their reach as far as possible,” she says.
Youthrive was also named national runner-up for the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge and second runner-up for the RBC Future Launch Project Accelerator; the Liberty Project was a national runner-up in the CWB Financial Education Challenge.
Faculty advisor Trevor McFadyen, a professor of management at the Odette School of Business and a John Dobson Enactus Fellow, praises the student organization as an experiential learning opportunity.
“Enactus Windsor helps students ideate, create, and operationalize community projects dedicated to improving quality of life in the Windsor-Essex region,” he says. “Over the last few years, our students have helped primary and secondary youth develop entrepreneurial skills, provided mentoring to victims of abuse and addiction, promoted integration of environmental stewardship in business practices, and created opportunities for new Canadians to fully participate in their new society and economy.”