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Game changers

Enactus Memorial taking different tack to defend national title

By Susan White

Enactus Memorial is attempting a bold strategy to defend its national title in Vancouver, B.C., this week.

The team of undergraduate students will once again focus its national presentation on Project Sucseed, which won both national and world titles in 2016.

Nicky Thoms of Enactus Memorial (in red) poses with students from B. L. Morrison All Grade School in Postville, Labrador following a visit for Project Sucseed.
Nicky Thoms of Enactus Memorial (in red) with students and teachers at B. L. Morrison All Grade School in Postville, Labrador, following a visit for Project Sucseed.

In the competitive world of Enactus, it’s risky to use the same project in consecutive competitive seasons, says faculty advisory Lynn Morrissey, a communications professor at the Faculty of Business Administration.

“We’ve made a commitment this year as a team to continue our primary focus on Project Sucseed. We want to go further, we want to go deeper,” she said.

“It’s quite unusual really that we would have taken it as far as it we did this past year, so we decided that despite the global championship, we had a lot more work to do with Sucseed. We’re taking a risk really in the competitive world but we feel we have a huge responsibility to deliver on the promises and the potential of the project.”

Enormous growth

Project Sucseed is a hydroponics program that was begun to address food insecurity in the North.

It launched in Rigolet, Labrador, in December 2015 and at Enactus regional competition in the spring of 2016 — 14 units had been sold.

By comparison, 452 units had been sold by this year’s regional championship in March, a number that rose to 530 as of last week.

Although the project has seen enormous growth in its first year, Prof. Morrissey says Project Sucseed has not yet reached its full potential, nor is it ready to be handed off to a community partner.

“We try to imagine sustainability when we take on a project. Normally, we look at a three- to five-year timeline,” she said.

Once projects are up and running smoothly, ownership and operations are typically turned over to a partner. Based in Business, for example, a project that helps transitioning members of the military create second careers as entrepreneurs, is now run as Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur by The Prince’s Charities Canada.

Most successful in Canada

But while social enterprise is the basis upon which Enactus teams operate worldwide, competition is its public face: one that offers titles, trophies and prestige.

Enactus Memorial is one of the best at that game. Memorial has nine national championships — more than any other team in Canada — and two world titles.

It’s the only team from Canada to ever win the Enactus World Cup.

“We’re the game changers. We’re always trying something new.” – Prof. Lynn Morrissey

However, Prof. Morrissey says it wasn’t hard to convince the Enactus team to continue with Project Sucseed again this year. She says that approaching the national championships with this strategy is evidence of Memorial’s leadership in the Enactus world.

“We’re the game changers. We’re always trying something new,” she said.

“I think we’re trying to remind everybody of what Enactus really is in terms of — yes, we get all excited about competition, we get disappointed if we’re not successful in competition — but what are we actually doing? What’s the impact? And how are we ensuring that we fulfil those obligations?

“I challenged the students on it. We’re very aligned in terms of what our core responsibility is. We want to be competitive but I just felt it would be really wrong to leave that project when it’s so young and there is so much interest in it and it has so much potential for so many demographics.”

‘Just the start’

Emily Bland, outgoing president of Enactus Memorial, agrees.

Enactus member Emily Bland poses with a Project Sucseed co-op member in Labrador.
Enactus member Emily Bland poses with a Project Sucseed co-op member in Labrador.

“Sucseed has the potential to be an answer to the global challenge of food insecurity. We need 70 per cent more food by 2050 and this solution empowers individuals to take control of their food supply,” she said.

“This is just the start of Project Sucseed. Our team is passionate about the project and we know it can be the answer to a global challenge, and we want to make it a reality.”

Enactus Memorial will showcase Project Sucseed at the Enactus Canada National Exposition in Vancouver, B.C., from May 9-11.

Sucseed’s success continues

Project Sucseed has generated significant growth and interest since Enactus Memorial first launched the project in late 2015. The below list offers some examples of that growth.

Infrastructure

  • Lighting fixture has been changed so that it is smaller and easier to ship.
  • A more efficient watering method has been developed.
  • Ninety-nine per cent of the materials are now sourced in Canada (the goal is 100 per cent).
  • A prototype for a miniature unit with four pods instead of the standard 12 has been developed.
  • Memorial University’s Botanical Garden is experimenting with various growing methods (e.g. crop rotation and nutrient varieties) to further improve the system.

Partnerships

  • Tim Hortons: A pilot project that placed the hydroponic units in 60 elementary schools in Newfoundland and Labrador has been completed. Plans are being explored to expand this project nationally, which will see students learn about growing methods as well as produce ingredients for school lunch programs.
  • Paul Martin Foundation: A pilot project that is improving food security in First Nations communities across Canada has placed 15 units in Kahnawake, Que.
  • Woodward Group: Contributed funding to place units in every community in Nunavut and coastal Labrador.
  • Scotiabank: Contributed funding for a financial literacy program that has been developed around the project.
  • CHEP: Enactus Memorial is working with North America’s leader in supply chain solutions to streamline transportation and shipping of the units.
  • Association for New Canadians: Enactus Memorial donated two units to the association, which is experimenting with growing produce native to other countries.
  • Capital One: Exploring ways to standardize the project in order to franchise it to other Enactus teams around the world.
  • Choices for Youth: One of the original partners that manufactures the units, Choices for Youth has taken a lead role in research and development and is involved in developing future partnerships.

Outreach

  • Members of Enactus Memorial met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in April to celebrate their world cup win as well as inform the prime minister about the importance of the project.
  • Three members of Enactus Memorial visited Delhi, India, to explore solar power and its fit for Project Sucseed.

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