There is a new club on campus and they're hoping to transform our community - and maybe even the world – one project at a time.
The club is called Enactus, a worldwide organization committed to improving lives through entrepreneurship, action and the power of us. Enactus is considered to be one of the best leadership development programs in the world and tackles projects that have a triple bottom line – social, environmental and economic.
From addressing food shortages in South Africa to creating employment opportunities in rural Malaysia, students involved with Enactus are using the power of entrepreneurship to change lives. Inspired by videos and stories of these and other student-driven projects in 39 different countries, club president Aaron Hoimyr, together with fellow business student Joel Higgins and faculty advisors Darren Howes and Jon Sookocheff, launched the local chapter at MHC.
“I saw the immense amount of impact these people were having on their communities and they were doing it on their own. They were creating ideas and initiatives and it was being done by college students like us,” said Hoimyr. For example, students in the United States started a bio energy plant in their rural community and revitalized the economy. “It was amazing. I want to be a part of that change.”
Hoimyr believes there is unawareness in the community about social issues that get brushed under the rug and hopes that a group like Enactus can help bring them to light. ”I’ve always been really passionate about community and charity, just spreading the love.”
The club’s first opportunity for action in the community involved working with Grade 5 students at Elm Street School during the fall semester. Hoimyr and other students from MHC’s business program were asked to teach a course in financial literacy with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. Elm Street students learned basic business concepts and the principles of accounting, marketing and loans. They even participated in a mock Dragon’s Den event and had to impress Jon Sookocheff, manager of MHC’s Entrepreneur Development Centre, with their business concepts.
Not only did the project teach students the value of entrepreneurship, it helped boost self-esteem. Hoimyr noted during his time at the school that many students come from a lower income demographic and struggle with issues like poverty. “Kids sometimes feel like they’re stuck. This project gave them the ability to earn money and increase their confidence.”
The results of their hard work were showcased at a Christmas fair in December where these business-minded students brought in over $1,000 for their products. “It was very important for the kids to have this experience where they could see all their efforts in the class become a reality. The chance to use the skills learned in school is really important,” said Hoimyr.
The event did not disappoint. Over 200 people packed the auditorium as the students worked hard to capture the attention of the holiday shoppers. Tables were filled with everything from duct tape wallets and pop tab bracelets to handbags made from recycled t-shirts. Not only did students learn the value of money, but the importance of environmental sustainability and social responsibility as well, with many of them using recycled materials or donating a portion of their profits to charity.
Allen Sears, 12 and his business partner Airik Beattie, 11 made $75 from sales of origami flowers, painted tiles and necklaces, and learned some important lessons about entrepreneurship along the way.
“It’s been amazing and fun,” said Sears of the experience. ““Being an entrepreneur is pretty cool but it takes a lot of hard work.”
Building on the success of the Elm Street School project, Enactus MHC is currently looking for students who are passionate about making a difference. Planning is underway for fall projects so now is a great time to get involved.
For more information, visit http://enactus.org/ or contact Darren Howes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From left to right: Airik Beattie, Aaron Hoimyr and Allen Sears celebrate the success of the Elm Street School Christmas Fair.
Join Enactus and make a difference through the power of entrepreneurship. For more information, visit Enactus or contact:
Enactus President (MHC)
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