Enactus Ryerson takes on the world

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By Leah Hansen

Enactus Ryerson will soon get the chance to compete in the Enactus Canada National Exposition after being named Ontario regional champions March 14.

Enactus Ryerson, a campus chapter of the worldwide non-profit, aims to make positive change in the world through business and entrepreneurship ideas.

The Enactus Canada National Exposition will take place at the end of April in Calgary. If Enactus Ryerson is able to defend their 2013 National Exposition win, they will get the chance to represent Canada at the Enactus World Cup in October, held in Beijing, China.

Ryerson’s regional win comes after receiving titles in the Capital One Financial Education Challenge and the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge. A team from Ryerson also competed in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge.

“Enactus Ryerson has had quite a few years now of success in winning competitions both at regionals and at nationals,” said Phil Walsh, a business professor and faculty advisor to Enactus Ryerson. “For the students, it’s an opportunity for them to experience success and to recognize that they can do great things early in life.”

The group sent teams to compete in each of the three categories and will do the same for the National Exposition, said Ilya Zatolokin, executive vice president of Enactus Ryerson and one of the presenters at the regional competition. They will also compete in the overall competition, which will determine who will represent Canada in Beijing.

Ryerson’s teams presented on Project Dago, a three-year old project, and a new initiative called Project North, which is still in the funding stage, said Zatolokin.

Project Dago is an Enactus Ryerson project in the small Kenyan town of Dago, with the goal of introducing financial literacy to villagers and providing them with eco-friendly ways of sustaining themselves.

“We really wanted to show the judges a project that had been going on for a long time and a new initiative that we just started this year, and kind of show them how Enactus Ryerson creates and maintains long-term projects,” said Zatolokin.

Project North aims to give the community of Repulse Bay, Nunavut access to moderately priced produce by building greenhouses using an innovative design. The team is still in the process of raising funds, said Zatolokin, and has planned the first trip to Nunavut for June 24.

Enactus Canada is a non-profit organization that has over 60 teams running on campuses across Canada, with the goal of creating positive change through entrepreneurship.

“Last year those teams ran 350 projects that helped create over 650 full and part time jobs, and generated over $6 million in economic activity,” said Nicole Almond, president of Enactus Canada.

While the titles and trophies are rewarding, the real success comes when the team can make a positive impact on someone’s life, said Zatolokin.

“A competition is a great way to showcase what we do, to build our brand. Enactus runs great projects and those projects are really what matter,” he said. “The trophy is great, but it’s just a trophy. The impact we have is what’s meaningful.”

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