Enactus NAIT wins second-runner up in regionals, advances to nationals

by | Mar 28, 2024 | News

On March 15, 2024, the Enactus NAIT club won second runner-up in the Innovation and Impact Challenge at the Western Canadian Enactus Regional Exposition, held annually in Calgary. The exposition is the first part of a national competition that aims to awaken Canada’s future leaders’ entrepreneurial spirit and potential through a series of competitions. Enactus NAIT’s winning project, a pop-up shop at the Glenrose Hospital, marked the first victory for the club since 2019, when the ASPIRE team won second runner-up in the CWB Financial Education Challenge. 

Called ‘the Corner Store,’ the project took an empty space in Edmonton’s Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and turned it into a small store. “It’s basically just a shop that has pretty cool stuff there,” said Jordyn Smereka, a Business Administration-Finance student and Social Media Coordinator for Enactus NAIT. She added that the hospital itself contacted them to offer a spot that used to be occupied before the pandemic. “There was an empty space, which is why the Glenrose reached out to us for some ideas. And then we actually gave them a full launch of a full business model.” 

The club then turned the space into a store to sell convenience items such as snacks and beverages. But not only that. Smereka explained that many of the products are from NAIT students and grads. “They have crochet flowers. That’s really cool. And then the gourmet chocolates are [from] another lady.”

This year, the regionals featured four impactful challenges from partner companies. They were the Canadian Tire Environmental Sustainability Challenge, Desjardins Youth Empowerment Challenge, TD Entrepreneurship Challenge and Innovation and Impact Challenge. The objective was broader in the latter, where registered teams had to develop projects that addressed real-world problems and present innovative solutions regardless of the problem area or the solution’s impact–a core feature of the club. “We are an entrepreneurship club where we help better the community, so we have some projects that help better the environment and through entrepreneur impact,”  Smereka explained. 

Now off to Nationals, the team will have to give a 12-minute presentation. “We are grinding and trying to finish our script. We are trying to get our whole presentation video done,” said Smereka.

She also said they will combine the current project with another one created by the group in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan called Recolour. “We contact Montana’s [the restaurant], and we take their used crayons. And instead of throwing them out, we give them a new life. So, we package them and send them to the University of Saskatchewan, where they melt them down and then mould them into new crayons.”

Enactus’s national appearance will be in Toronto between May 14 and 16, and the NAIT team is busy confirming flights and hotel accommodations. Students can stay tuned to the club’s Instagram page to keep an eye out for results.

Cover photo supplied

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