05 Jul Enactus DCU Chairperson: A Year in Review
Jack Kane, a second year Global Business student in Dublin City University and Chairperson of Enactus DCU takes us throw his journey from winning last years National Competition, representing Ireland at this years World Cup and more!
National Competition 2016
At the end of my first year of study in DCU I was a member of the victorious DCU team at the 2016 Enactus Ireland National Competition. Having been a member of the Enactus DCU society throughout the year I was amazed at how much this competition opened my eyes. It took until the end of the academic year for me to fully grasp the scale of the Enactus Ireland programme. Ten teams of innovative students, motivated by competition, striving to improve lives in their local communities. It’s a powerful thought, and in May 2016 we were the best in the country.
So, what is Enactus?
Enactus is a global NGO that connects innovative students with academic and business leaders to facilitate the development of entrepreneurial ideas which tackle social issues. Each year, a National Competition takes places where all ten teams from around the country present everything they’ve achieved over the preceding twelve months. After a day of competition and celebration, a winner is chosen to go forward and represent Ireland at the prestigious Enactus World Cup.
The World Stage
If I thought that my eyes were opened at the Irish National Competition then I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I saw at the Enactus World Cup in Toronto in September 2016. The numbers, the countries, the people, the colour and the sheer size of everything that was happening was amazing. Most of all, it was the quality and scale of the projects presented by other national champions that stuck with me the most. Our experience at the World Cup in Toronto fueled our motivation as we watched and learned from every other presentation. Thus began the long road to putting the foundations in place and it was here that our theme of ‘Empowering the Inner Entrepreneur’ was conceived. We returned to DCU with a clear mission statement – build projects with World Cup level impacts.
Plans in Action
Following the World Cup, we quickly set about putting together the largest Enactus DCU committee ever. We felt that in order to build larger projects we needed more active members. Even with a 22-strong committee we felt that we needed more engagement from the outside membership. To tackle this issue we developed and launched the inaugural ‘Enactus Academy’. The Enactus Academy acts as a social enterprise incubator solely for DCU students. All interested students were invited to attend weekly sessions on campus. These involved ice-breakers, team-forming and project idea brainstorming. The first ever year of The Enactus Academy was a promising success. Our newest project, Plan Bee, is a brainchild of this initiative and The Enactus Academy has shown huge potential for future years.
Student-focused events are a vital part of running a society on DCU’s campus and keeping society members engaged. This year, we used our innovation to become the first society to use the on-campus canteen for a student event, running our annual Miss DCU. This, coupled with expanding other existing events such as Life Gives You Lemons and launching brand new ones such as DCU’s Family Fortunes, helped to boost the profile of Enactus DCU on campus this year.
2016-2017 has truly been a remarkable success for Enactus DCU, powered by the experience of the Enactus World Cup in Toronto. Our largest every committee has engaged the largest number of active members that Enactus DCU has ever had. Focused on our theme of ‘Empowering the Inner Entrepreneur’ we have laid the foundations for powerful social enterprises in Well on the Way and Second Scoop. We have taken HeadstARTs, our most established, successful project, and have unleashed the shackles so that its impacts can be replicated all over the country. On May 31, 2017, we were absolutely delighted to be crowned Enactus Ireland National Champions for the second year in a row. After twelve months of such hard work across a group of amazing students, it is apt to take a break and evaluate. We now find ourselves in preparation for another Enactus World Cup, this time in London. The team is wasting no time in developing our social enterprises in the lead up to this event. Project teams have already been reaffirmed, project goals and timelines have been set and the wheels are well and truly in motion.
Behind the Scenes
All this success doesn’t just happen. Our team members juggle full-time degree courses, part-time jobs, social lives and family commitments. Team and project leaders make sure to lend a hand in every task and not merely give orders. Everyone’s suggestions are taken on board. Leadership must always remember that the people we’re working with are not subordinates or employees. They are volunteers giving up precious time out of their hectic schedules and above all, they are close friends.
Our faculty advisers and our wider advisory board, made up of representatives from the Enactus Ireland corporate partners, offer invaluable help all year long. We receive constant support and guidance from Enactus Ireland. We have developed strong industry partners for each of our projects whose advice and help push our projects much further than we would be able to do on our own.
All of this energy and effort culminates in five people speaking on a stage for seventeen minutes. However, over 8,000 hours were put in over the last year to get us to where we are today. It has been an absolute pleasure to spend these hours with such an incredible group of people.