One of the most important things that every student learns is that they part of a greater community, and that this community also needs to constantly grow, change and improve.
Enactus is a community of students, academic and business leaders from around the world who believe an entrepreneurial spirit and action can make a change in the world and in people’s lives. The programme has highlighted and encouraged students from across the globe to create meaningful and impactful social and economic development projects that help to achieve the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals.
Established in 36 countries with over 70, 500 active students participating annually, South Africa has 26 universities involved with the programme, with 3,328 students working on 108 projects and totaling 319,364 volunteered hours in 2016 alone.
Each year the non-profit organisation hosts a world cup, inviting the winning teams from each regional area to compete for the overall title. This year South Africa will be represented by the University of Johannesburg. Beating 26 other universities including Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Monash South Africa, Cape Town University and the University of Pretoria, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) took home the title at the national champions held in July.
A first time win for UJ it was their development and implementation of outstanding sustainable urban farming project and the creation of entrepreneurial opportunities for refugees that brought them the win.
The Izindaba Zokudla (Conversations About Food), the team’s project, advocates specific approaches to urban agricultural development in Johannesburg. The project has trained more than 200 farmers and created 156 self-sustainable jobs for farmers and allowed for the production of safe and fresh foods at lower costs. Rubbish dumps are now being turned into vegetable gardens, edible gardens springing up throughout townships and vacant land, wasted and dangerous for passers-by used for producing food and securing an income.
The second project that the UJ team focused on was aimed at curtailing the xenophobia and looting against foreign nationals that has been troubled Johannesburg and Pretoria. The UJ Enactus team worked on a business model to secure a sustainable stream of income for refugees. “Training on how to run small informal trading outlets were held in Gauteng and the team assisted foreign nationals with business plans that enabled them to generate start-up capital,” faculty advisor, Joyce Sibeko (Lecturer in Business Management) commented. The actions taken included; developing manuals and by-law booklets, conducting training for 221 individuals and facilitating proper business planning. The results were that the team empowered 145 women, created jobs for 270 refugees, saw a 50% measured reduction in violent attacks and secured a signed commitment to increase mutual co-operation.
Francis Zoghby, Nezaro Novela, Lerato Mpanza
At the World cup, each regional team will have 17 minutes to present their projects. The judges are looking for the projects that best showcase entrepreneurial action and shared innovation that transforms lives and creates a better future. The competition allows the best and brightest student minds to demonstrate how they tackled the socio-economic challenges their communities face and with entrepreneurial ingenuity.
Last year’s global competition was held in South Africa but this year’s World Cup will be hosted by Toronto, Canada on the 28-30 September.
Enactus founders believe that competitions such as these encourage students to think beyond themselves and their own needs as to how they can use their skills in order to create opportunities and solutions in their communities and be agents of change within society.
*The Enactus worldwide event was held this weekend in Canada, the University of Johannesburg made it to the semi-finals but did not progress from there in the competition. The students view their participation in this event as a proud moment in their lives representing South Africa.