Launching a food app and food shipment network, transforming hemp waste into feminine hygiene products, rebranding local businesses, using advanced hydroponic science to help grow food for arctic communities—all these ventures are no walk in the park, and yet, these are just a few of the side projects Enactus students lead throughout the year … on top of their school work.
To show off their great work, Enactus teams from 67 Canadian university and college campuses visited Toronto on May 14th for the 2018 Enactus National Exposition. Through successive rounds of competition, each of these teams shared a 17-minute presentation where they outlined the various entrepreneurial ventures they took part in this year that made an impact both at home and internationally.
And this year, none of the teams came to disappoint.
Using the triple bottom line approach that Enactus promotes, these teams launched businesses that created jobs, built upon the communities around them, and helped to clean up our environment.
For a snapshot of what these teams managed to pull off, let’s look at some of the projects from two Enactus teams:
Enactus, Saint Mary’s University
The idea behind this venture came after discovering that roughly one-third of all food grown in Canada goes to waste due to inefficiencies in transportation, pricing, packaging, or even appearance—reasons that have nothing to do with whether the food is edible. What is even more shocking is that one in eight households are food insecure.
To bridge this gap, the SMU team created Square Roots to partner with local farmers, bundle the good but imperfect food they are unable to sell to grocery chains, and then sell it in bulk at a significant discount to low-income families. This process diverts tons of nutritious, edible food from the landfill, helps farmers make an income on crops they would otherwise throw out, and helps to improve the nutrition of low-income families.
In addition, SMU created a Square Roots app that lets low-income families purchase tokens that they can then redeem to buy these bundles or buy discounted restaurant food. Companies are also able to buy these tokens for charitable purposes.
All-in-all, in 2018, Square Roots has diverted over 350,000 lbs of food from waste, served over 180,000 meals, and has generated over $3,800,000 in economic impact.
Learn how you can support the Square Roots initiative: http://squarerootsfood.ca/
Enactus, Memorial University
At the start of the year, Memorial identified that a significant number of children lived in homes suffering from food insecurity. In other words, children from low-income households often come to school without a breakfast or lunch, or the food they do bring is of low nutritional value.
The Memorial team hoped to address this issue by using food science to create a nutritious meal replacement that kids would actually love to eat. The result? The Smart Cooking Company.
This venture now employs five, local, at-risk youth to produce environmentally sustainable, cookie-flavoured meal replacements, thus far selling over 4,000 units—or in other words, serving over 4,000 breakfasts to 339 youth in the SmartCooking program. And this is only year-one.
The Memorial team also identified similar food insecurity challenges in the Arctic where the extreme temperatures faced by Northern communities have limited their ability to import or grow fresh vegetables or fruits.
To tackle this challenge, the Memorial team partnered with their school’s engineering and food science department to build portable hydroponic systems that can grow produce in any climate using a fraction of the soil, water, and electricity that a traditional farm uses.
This venture has resulted in the creation of 15 local jobs, generated over $160,000 in revenue, and has significantly increased the availability and reduced the cost of produce in participating Northern communities.
Learn how you can support The Smart Cooking Company initiative: https://www.smartcookingco.ca/
Learn how you can support the SucSeed initiative: https://sucseed.ca/
About Enactus Canada
Enactus Canada is shaping generations of entrepreneurial leaders passionate about advancing the economic, social and environmental health of Canada.
To learn more about Enactus or how you can get involved at your local university or college, visit here: http://enactus.ca/