A recent trip to the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition was an opportunity for Medicine Hat College (MHC) students to demonstrate their passion for entrepreneurship and deliver award-winning presentations.
Established in 2012, Enactus MHC was the first chapter of its kind among Alberta colleges. It has approximately 40 student members representing a variety of programs, including education, business, social work and visual communications. Together, the team draws from their diverse skill sets to move projects forward and improve lives through entrepreneurship.
For Amber Kornelson, a second year education student, the Enactus experience has created opportunities for professional and personal growth.
“I knew my involvement with Enactus would provide hands-on teaching experience and networking opportunities in local schools,” explains Kornelson, who helps deliver their Young Entrepreneurship Program to elementary and junior high students.
“But it has become so much more. Seeing the impact of our projects leaves such a good feeling. Enactus has also helped me build relationships with college employees and students in other programs.”
Adriana Todaro was drawn to Enactus because of the public speaking component, but soon realized its potential for creating positive change.
“Working at the ground level is one of my favourite things about Enactus,” says the second year social work student. “We’re constantly interacting with people, being innovative, and working to bring projects to life.”
Those projects were shared at the Enactus Regional Exposition for Western Canada held in Calgary earlier this month. This annual event celebrates the achievements of Canada’s future leaders and entrepreneurs and provides an opportunity for students to be inspired by keynote speakers and by each other. Hundreds of students representing colleges and universities across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia brought their energy and ideas to the stage and competed in four challenges related to education, environment, empowerment and entrepreneurship.
Represented by 15 students and one faculty advisor, the MHC team was named second runner up in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge for their ongoing work with the Young Entrepreneurship Program. This project originally started with Enactus members developing and delivering entrepreneurial curriculum at local schools with the goal of breaking the downward cycle of poverty in lower socio-economic segments of the community. The program has since grown in scope after the Enactus team saw the potential of developing an entrepreneurial mindset in all students.
Enactus MHC was also one of four teams to receive $1820 funding from RBC’s Future Launch Project Accelerator, which will support a new entrepreneurship endeavour this spring that will help high school graduates who are struggling to generate an income.
In addition to showcasing the exciting work being done by Enactus teams, the regional exposition also offers students the chance to network with business and community leaders.
“All of the speakers are down to earth. They come out and talk to the students which shows us there is not a power imbalance,” says Todaro about the Enactus president and alumni who shared their insight with students at this year’s event, and Calgary’s Mayor Nenshi who presented in 2018.
During the event’s opening and closing ceremonies, and throughout the team presentations, one of the most powerful aspects of the competition is the energy.
“Everything changes once you go to a competition. Presentations are dynamic, focused on impact and empowerment,” explains Todaro. “I was astounded by the amount of support between teams. When your team wins, everyone cheers for you. It really is a celebration of what others are doing.”
Todaro and Kornelson are proud of what their group has accomplished this year and look forward to competing at the national exposition in Vancouver from May 7 – 9, 2019.
“The passion of our team really shines through in competition. Judges and students and faculty from other schools have commented on our presentations and the strength of our team,” says Kornelson.
“Together, we can accomplish great things.”
Want to engage with the power of Enactus MHC? Community partnerships are the key to success. Contact Darren Howes with your project suggestions or support.
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