Social Enterprise Competition in Canada Draws 900 College Students

A nationwide competition in Canada recently brought together 900 university and college students who want to use social entrepreneurship to build a better world.

The event, organized by Enactus Canada, attracted young changemakers working on projects that focused on keeping food out of Ontario landfills and training farmers in Zambia to get higher crop yields.

Enactus is a “community of entrepreneurial leaders who see business as a way to address social issues,” according to the organization’s website. It has drawn nearly 3,500 students and impacted more than 28,500 individuals, the site reports.

More than 1,500 delegates, including students, academic professionals and business leaders, took part in the 2019 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Toronto earlier this month.

A 40-person judging panel of top Canadian CEOs gave the competition’s top award to students from Lambton College. They built a food production and wholesaling business in three communities in Zambia, moving farmers up the value chain and creating a thriving local economy. The students are members of Enactus Lambton, founded in 2012 at the school. Enactus Lambton trained 175 entrepreneurs to work with and empower more than 35,000 farmers in Zambia. The organization reports that these farmers’ yields are now 4.6 times higher than traditional yields.

Sixty-nine post-secondary institutions competed in three rounds of live presentation-based challenges at the Enactus event. Each team had 17 minutes to showcase how their entrepreneurial projects advance the social, economic and environmental health of communities, create new career opportunities, spark business innovation and change lives.

The Lambton group will advance to represent Canada at the Enactus World Cup, to be held Sept. 16-18 in San Jose, Calif.

Ross Arsenault, founder of Ashored, Inc.

Ross Arsenault, a student at Saint Mary’s University and the owner of Ashored, Inc., was named the event’s 2019 Student Entrepreneur National Champion and took home a cash prize of $10,000. His business helps improve the sustainability of the commercial fishery industry by developing user-friendly and purpose-built innovations.

According to Ashored’s website, the company is developing a ropeless fishing system to reduce whale entanglements in nets and traps. Ashored also retrofits lobster and crab traps with sonar- and geo-tracking-equipped underwater buoys that can be triggered to the surface to be retrieved instead of getting lost in the sea.

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