21 July 2017

Enactus Sydney

What is the Enactus program?

Enactus Sydney is a student-led organisation that uses entrepreneurial action to create sustainable social enterprises. Our projects aim to tackle important social issues within the community  and are first-class demonstrations of the power of entrepreneurship, enabling progress and enhancing the lives of those we touch. Our organisation consists of 60 students from various faculties and in different stages of their degree progressions. We are part of the global Enactus network spanning across 36 countries, 1730 universities and over 72,000 students.

What projects did you work on as part of the program and present in the Enactus Nationals?

At the Enactus Nationals, we presented three of our current projects:
Culinary Tales provides refugees with employment, a source of income and social connection by empowering them to run their own cooking classes. This provides our refugees not only with economic skills and income, but also a social platform to share their experiences and cultures. We believe food has a powerful ability to forge harmonious connections between people from all different culture and across generations. Culinary Tales started by running classes in the community, open to all members of the public. We have since expanded our reach to high schools, where our classes directly supplement the Food Technology syllabus and enhance students' understanding of multiculturalism. Furthermore, we piloted our first Corporate Class for Culinary Tales in 16/17, representing the launch of our third innovative branch. 

The Pop Up Project aims to empower disadvantaged youths with business, hospitality and customer service skills to increase their chances of employment and cultivate a stronger sense of independence and self-determination. Through, partnerships with Glebe Youth Services, we are currently delivering a 'Three-Day program' involving a one day barista course, a business skills training day and one day real life experiences running a Pop-Up coffee and waffle stall on campus. in 16/17, we have also expanded the program by delivering a paid cafe internship program for two of our students. We hope to continue our partnership with local cafes and organisations to empower disadvantaged youths to seek future education and employment. 

Flashback is a creative writing program that aims to provide a platform for socially isolated senior citizens to share their experiences and explore their creativity. Our workshops are facilitated by students from University of Sydney and aims to provide an avenue for social interaction and inter-generational understanding. This project was started in February from our Enactus Summer Internship program and had its first pilot program in May 2017. We hope to continue expanding the project across retirement villages and publish their stories in the future. 

How did you implement entrepreneurial thinking and action to address the social causes/groups behind these projects?

One of the biggest tools that we utilise at Enactus Sydney is the design thinking methodology that allows us to go deeper beneath the surface of a problem to truly empathise and understand what needs to be solved. This involves needs assessments and a lot of critical preliminary research. Ultimately, this allows our ideas and solutions to be truly impactful when we pilot and launch them. Furthermore, we often employ business tools and frameworks that we've learnt during our University studies to ensure our projects are as strong as possible. 

What was your key takeaway from the experience of the Enactus Nationals?

Enactus Nationals was truly an amazing experience. For our team, the ability to see the amazing projects of other universities was a key learning experience. We really appreciated the opportunity to hear about the social impact being made around Australia and it inspires us to continue working hard on our projects to ensure targeted, effective empowerment for the disadvantaged communities in Australia. At the end of the day, we are all tackling similar social issues in the community and we hope to foster a sense of partnership with other universities. By working together, we will be able to create solutions that will ultimately be most beneficial and empowering for the community.

What was it like interacting with other Enactus teams and presenting in front of industry professionals?

(From the presenters themselves):

Interacting with other Enactus teams and hearing about their projects with such passion was inspirational, truly highlighting the power that student volunteers have in creating social impact. Similarly, the opportunity to present to a panel of industry professionals who wanted to listen and learn about what we had achieved over the past year was invaluable, providing us with insight and advice that we can apply moving forward.

At first, presenting in front of the industry professionals was pretty nerve wracking, but the judges would smile which made me feel a lot more comfortable presenting. 
Meeting Enactus teams from other universities was also really great because we got to see what their Enactus culture was like and the different projects they were involved in.

Watching other teams' presentations was highly inspiring and refreshing when reflecting on the future direction of our teams' projects. 
I certainly underestimated the formality of the competition, which was immensely pleasing, as it showed the support, time and efforts industry professionals were willing to offer to the Enactus teams and their projects. 

How did you feel when it was announced Enactus Sydney were first place winners?

Speaking on behalf of the group, I think it is fair to say that when we were announced as winners, it was a moment of pure shock and joy. At the start of the year, Enactus Nationals was not on our radar: we were driven and focused on improving our projects to empower as many members of the community as we could. Hearing that we won was a great validation for us as a team because the results of our projects spoke for themselves and it simply reflected the hard work each and everyone of our members had put in. 

What are you looking forward to the most about participating in the upcoming Enactus World Cup in London?

As a team, we are excited to witness what other universities have accomplished in a multitude of countries. Furthermore, it will be an amazing cultural experience as we are able to network with students and business professionals from 36 other countries. Finally, as university students, we are simply excited to be able to travel to London and we are proud to represent Australia, and showcase our projects on the world stage. 

What are your expectations from the World Cup?

Going to the World Cup, we have not set any expectations on ourselves. Similar to the Enactus Nationals, we plan to let the results of our projects speak for themselves. However, we also expect this will be great learning experience as we hear about the various methodologies other universities utilise and their strategies towards delivering sustainable social impact in the community. 

Key people from the Nationals experience:

  • Our core executive team: Jonathon Tan (Chief Executive Officer), Alexander Chye (Chief Operating Officer), Sharon Yin (Chief Marketing Officer) and Carl Lesmana (Head of Project Development)
  • Our faculty advisors: Andrew Lee and James Meade
  • Our presenters: Matthew Youie, Lisa Gong, Monique Andreatta 
By Enactus Sydney, first place winners of Enactus Nationals.

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