15 Nov ENACTUS & CITI IRELAND: ROUND UP OF ACTION!
On November 3rd & 4th, Enactus & Citi Ireland officially launched their programme as part of the Citi Foundation’s global initiative, Pathways to Progress. Aisling Fagan from Enactus DCU and Eamonn Organ from Enactus UL share their training weekend experience with us and their top tips for other Enactus teams!
‘I was very excited to attend the first Enactus and Citi Ireland event. This programme provides Enactus teams from across Ireland the opportunity and resources to work on projects that we are passionate about, empowering young people between the ages of 16-24 years old from disadvantaged urban areas. To kick-start the day we had a rundown of the Enactus criteria, engaged in a number of short tasks such as answerig short questions on the project and brainstorming how our project is impacting people’s lives. The extraordinary thing about this programme is that we were afforded the opportunity to pitch for funding for our projects in front of senior members of staff from Citi. We had to present our idea, our findings from our needs assessments and a breakdown of how much seed funding we were requesting, all in under three minutes; a serious challenge it itself!
Prior to presenting ourselves, we got to see the various projects other Enactus teams were working on. They presented a fascinating mix of ideas, looking at issues such as mental health, homelessness and your digital footprint, amongst others. A total of €8,400 in seed funding was up for grabs between all teams. After the pitches, each team was then paired with a mentor from Citi, who will be on hand to offer advice and assistance over the coming months to develop our projects to their full potential. Day one was incredible, we were provided with insightful information and helpful advice to better our projects! Over the course of the two days I learned so much and my top three take homes were:
- Needs assessments are one of the most important elements of your projects and need to be updated continuously. Teams should conduct these at the start, middle and end of project and all findings should be recorded.
- Never lose sight of the empowerment element of your project. We are in Enactus to change lives, don’t let your business head get in the way of that!
- Set long-term and short-term goals. Avoid procrastination as much as possible and get your work done smarter and quicker. Remember, no man is an island and dividing up the tasks among team members means that more work is getting done but everyone feels a part of the team.’
‘I have to say that one of the most beneficial things we did on day one was conduct a needs assessment. We were put under pressure and we needed to research what problems our project tackled which led us to start frantically making phone calls and sending emails to the various people who are involved in our project. This ended up being very productive as much of our new found information helped shape our final pitch.
After our day at Citi came to a close, a smaller cohort of us headed to Kippure Estate in Co.Wicklow. After enjoying a delicious barbecue I caught some much needed rest. Although I had the initial emotional shock of there being no Wi-Fi or mobile connection there, the day spent here proved one of the most beneficial events I’ve attended while with Enactus. The small group meant we could get more one-to-one help in developing our projects, while it also offered a great chance to learn more about the members of other Enactus teams and foster new friendships. We focused on the empowerment piece in our projects as people are the focal point of our projects. We then developed project timelines and divided out the tasks among team members so we could easily identify who needs to do what and when.
Later on we engaged in some team activities in the adventure centre which included low ropes, rock climbing, archery and a leap of faith! All in all, it was an extremely worthwhile two days and I have included the main pieces of advice I would pass on to other teams:
- Break up your project into smaller tasks and set out a clear and defined timeline of when you want each one completed, this makes things clearer for your team and also serves as a good motivator.
- Be able to give a short but clear-cut outline of your project. When we presented in front of Citi we only had three minutes to pitch our idea, which flies when you’re up there, so being able to efficiently get across the important points is vitally important.
- Lastly, always remember why you’re doing your project and the massive positive impact you can have on people’s lives. When things inevitably don’t always go to plan, this should be enough of a reason to keep going!’
Each team will return to Citi in February for further training on their projects and they will pitch again in April for further funding.