This past weekend, Enactus Okanagan College (OC) travelled to Toronto, Ontario to compete in the Enactus Canada National Exposition final round. They became the first team from Western Canada to be crowned the National champion out of more than 60 teams across Canada.
Their award-winning home-grown project is feeding people from across the region to multiple countries around the world. Their win will now see the students travel abroad to share their inspiring idea and compete at the next level.
Unusually Good Food Company was inspired by a local student who noticed that large amounts of apples are wasted each year because they don’t fit the grocery store appearance standard. In response, the Enactus Okanagan College team worked alongside the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners to turn these “unusual apples” into healthy apple chips that have been distributed to local schools, food banks, and even Guatemala and Ukraine this year. Unusually Good has positively impacted over 22,000 students this year by giving them access to healthy, nutritious apple chips.
“Despite the many challenges of the last few years, from COVID to wildfires, these students have managed to create a sustainable social enterprise and significantly increase its impact,” explains Andrew Klingel, one of Enactus OC’s faculty advisors and a professor with the College’s School of Business. “This award recognizes their resilience and determination to fight food insecurity and climate change. The true winners are the schools, foodbanks, and international organizations that have received more than 120,000 servings of apple chips. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such an inspiring group of students, faculty, and partners.”
Following the apple chips, the team next produced apple juice which enabled them to become a sustainable social enterprise and to pay farmers for apples that would have gone to waste. The team didn’t stop there. Enactus encourages constant innovation, and these students turned their attention to another fruit, cherries, and began producing cherry juice as well as utilizing their apple pomace by-product to create apple candles.
All this hard work led to the victory at nationals. The team will now represent Canada at the Enactus World Cup, held Oct. 30 – Nov. 2 in Puerto Rico.
“It has been an honour to work with such an incredible team on this journey,” says MacKenna Lenarcic, President of Enactus Okanagan College and one of the five presenters. “The EnactusOC team has put countless amounts of hours in to create the fully sustainable social enterprise we presented on that’s taken something ‘unusual,’ and turning it into something beneficially beautiful. The impact we have on our community, nationally, and internationally continues to inspire me and I am excited to have the chance to showcase this to the world on Enactus Team Canada.”
As Lenarcic notes, these competitions allow students to showcase their projects and overall impact. At the final round, 65 CEOs and Executives from across Canada judged the five finalist teams on their projects and teams’ entrepreneurial leadership, innovation, business principle application, and sustainable positive impact. “Our team won because they developed, presented, and executed the best business project, a reflection of their education at the Okanagan College School of Business,” says Bill Gillett, Dean of the School of Business. “This well-deserved win for our students is truly a result of their hard work but also the dedication that each of our faculty has for our students.”
What’s next for Enactus Okanagan College? The National team, MacKenna Lenarcic, Rebekah Dingwall, Mandi Kohout, Jackson Price, Danielle Walker, and Andrew Loken will travel to Puerto Rico with support from their faculty advisors at the end of the month to represent Canada and compete against over 30 countries on the world stage.
To learn more about Enactus Okanagan College, Unusually Good Food Company, and how you can support the team, please visit their website https://www.enactusoc.ca/.
To learn more about Okanagan College’s School of Business, visit
www.okanagan.bc.ca/business. Applications for the 2023-24 academic year opened this