Enactus Okanagan College has received their largest grant to date, enabling the volunteer team to launch and expand more student-led projects that create community and environmental impact.
The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) is investing in Enactus social entrepreneurs with a $25,000 grant.
Laurel Douglas, CEO of ETSI-BC, says her organization’s mission is to support economic development projects that will have long-lasting and measurable benefits in the region.
“We are excited to see how this grant helps Enactus grow, teaching more people entrepreneurship and community development skills while generating insights and learning for future projects,” says Douglas.
Danielle Walker is the current president of Enactus OC and a fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration student specializing in accounting. She says the funding will make an incredible difference during a year when the organization has seen record interest from students.
“We are seeing a huge need from students who want to get connected with the community and it’s been driven by the pandemic. There is a real desire to get back to connecting with people and making a difference,” says Walker.
Enactus already runs several successful projects that will now be able scale up thanks to the funding. This includes Unusually Good Food Co., which combats both climate change and food insecurity by collecting apples that would otherwise go to waste and turning them into food products.
Last year, Unusually Good was able to prevent 25,000 lbs of apples from languishing on trees because they were too small or imperfect to sell, turning the apples into 900 boxes of fresh pressed cider. The funds from the juice sales help Usually Good produce Apple Bites, a dehydrated apple snack, that is distributed to schools and food banks for children.
The funding will also help Enactus expand and launch new initiatives. Rising is a social enterprise that educates youth about prevalent issues in society, providing learning modules for teachers on issues like sustainable fashion, homelessness and social media.
Another new project includes a collaboration with the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society to empower Indigenous youth to channel their creativity while learning entrepreneurial skills.
Sending more students to business competitions will also be a priority, enabling Enactus to develop student talent.
For Walker, the best part of receiving the funding is knowing more OC students will get to experience personal transformation within the Enactus program that blends community engagement with problem solving.
“When I first joined Enactus, I thought I would volunteer a couple of hours a week,” Walker recalls. “I ended up working on CANsave, a financial literacy program for school-aged children, and I was inspired to create a module for unique learners like my son.”
Walker also went on to co-found Kelowna Community Helpers, an online platform to help those most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. For these efforts and more, Walker was named a Top 40 under 40 in 2020, and she credits her time with Enactus for much of her current success.
“By volunteering with Enactus, you grow so much as a person and you reap the benefits of knowing you’re helping people in your community, it’s pretty amazing,” Walker adds.
To learn more about Enactus Okanagan College, click here.
To learn more about ETSI-BC, click here.
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