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By Susan White

It took 17 minutes for Enactus Memorial to earn its second world cup title on Sept. 30.

Seventeen minutes for a group of undergraduate students from Memorial University to share the story of Project Sucseed with the world. Seventeen minutes to share its vision of using hydroponics to address food insecurity in Canada’s North, and to convince a judging panel of business experts of the project’s sustainability and potential for growth. Seventeen minutes to sum up over 17,000 volunteer hours from Enactus Memorial’s 71 members over the past year.

After those 17 minutes were over, Enactus Memorial became the 2016 Enactus World Cup champions.

“Bringing home the world cup feels like a dream come true,” said Emily Bland, a commerce student at the Faculty of Business Administration and president of Enactus Memorial. “It’s three days later and it still doesn’t feel real. It was one of those moments that you dream about but never really think it would happen.”

“Bringing home the world cup feels like a dream come true.” – Emily Bland

The Enactus World Cup is a three-day competition that features the top 35 Enactus teams from around the world, each sharing the stories of their community projects and the ways in which they are trying to change the world.

Enactus Memorial president Emily Bland presents during the world cup competition in Toronto, Ont.
Enactus Memorial president Emily Bland presents during the world cup competition.
Photo: Enactus Canada

Hydroponic mega-project

For Enactus Memorial, the focus of the past year has been Project Sucseed. The team started brainstorming a way to address food insecurity after nationals in 2015 with the intention of creating a megaproject that had the potential to impact the lives of people in several different segments of society. They came up with a hydroponics system that would allow people to grow fresh produce in their homes, which they could then sell to local stores or through a co-op.

To develop the technology behind the project, Enactus Memorial worked with Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Botanical Garden. They then engaged at-risk youth through Choices for Youth to manufacture the hydroponic units. Finally, they launched in Rigolet in December with a small co-op.

Now, Project Sucseed is operating in 10 communities in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as communities in New Brunswick and Nunavut. The team is working with 72 schools to use Project Sucseed to teach students about biodiversity and grow produce for lunch programs. And they’ve also expanded the scope of the project so that it now includes retirement homes, soup kitchens and a correctional facility. The hydroponic units may also be purchased by individuals for personal use or they can sponsor units for other communities and organizations.

National partnership

To further grow the project, Enactus Memorial is working on a partnership with Tim Hortons to bring Project Sucseed to schools nationwide.

“We attribute our success to two things: our team’s hard work and dedication to solving a global problem and the support from the community,” said Ms. Bland. “This project would never be where it is today without the support we have received from across the country. It took our simple idea for a project that would help 15 people to one that will help thousands over the next year.

She also credits faculty advisor Lynn Morrissey, an assistant professor of communications at the business faculty who has been leading Enactus Memorial for the past 13 years, with much of the team’s success.

A member of the Enactus Memorial team hugs Prof. Lynn Morrissey.
A member of the Enactus Memorial team hugs Prof. Lynn Morrissey.
Photo: Enactus Canada

“A huge part of our success has been Lynn,” said Ms. Bland. “She knows this organization inside and out and she knows what can make a world-class team and a world-class project. She is dedicated to improving the world through our projects 365 days of the year, and she is a mentor to our whole team. She inspires all of us to believe that we can do more, that we can change the world. This organization would never be where it is today without her, and the 1,000 students that she has inspired would never have reached their full potential without her.”

Enactus Memorial is the only Canadian team to have won the Enactus World Cup; it’s now done it twice. It’s the most successful team in Canada with nine national titles to its credit.

Canada took on teams from Puerto Rico, France and Senegal in the opening round with both Canada and Puerto Rico moving onto the semi-finals along with 14 other teams.

In the semi-final round, Canada faced South Africa, Morocco and Korea. Canada gave the final presentation of the championship round after watching the teams from India, Germany and Nigeria share their presentations with the audience.

‘Remarkable’ achievement

President Kachanoski says the students of Enactus Memorial are “remarkable.”

“The Enactus Memorial team is an exceptional group of students,” he said. “Their volunteerism, commitment to social entrepreneurship and innovative thinking make a tremendous difference in our community, and beyond, and we are extremely proud of their achievements.”

“There is such a sense of pride,” said Ms. Bland. “We started this journey wanting to make ourselves, our families, our university and our province proud, and we feel as if we have done just that. One of the best moments from the whole journey was feeling the support of the Canadian teams. We received a standing ovation during the training session when we unveiled our presentation. It meant so much to our team that we made the other Canadian teams proud.”

Team members present during one of the rounds of competition.
Team members present during one of the rounds of competition.
Photo: Enactus Canada

Proud dean

Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean of the business faculty at Memorial, accompanied Enactus Memorial to the world cup.

“Enactus Memorial students represent faculties and schools from across Memorial University and demonstrate the talent and commitment of our students,” he said. “We should all be proud of their accomplishments and the amazing impact they are having in communities across the country. Project Sucseed is only their latest and greatest project and complements successful projects that foster entrepreneurship among Canadian Forces’ veterans, students, new Canadians, disabled Haitians and the disadvantaged, and that promote environmental stewardship here and around the world. My congratulations to all the students and to their advisor, Lynn Morrissey, for this well-deserved recognition.”

“Project Sucseed is only their latest and greatest project.” –Dr. Wilfred Zerbe

Enactus Memorial is a student-run volunteer group, part of an international non-profit organization that mobilizes university and college students to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need through the application of business processes and models.

Consisting of 71 undergraduate students from faculties of business administration, humanities and social sciences, engineering and science, Enactus Memorial runs 13 community projects that over the past year have helped establish 91 new businesses, create 248 new jobs, generate over $2.5 million in revenue and change the lives of 3,186 project participants.

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