The Enactus UK 2018 National Expo took place in April of this year at the ExCeL, London, bringing together their 59 university teams for three days of competition. Their task was to present the best social enterprise projects from the teams established by international non-profit, Enactus.
In addition to the grand prize of being crowned this year’s national champion (who will fly out to Silicon Valley to compete in the Enactus World Cup later in the year), the students competed to win the Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3). This year there were three university Enactus teams that were successful in winning the Ford C3 grant of £5,000, our congratulations go to: The University of East Anglia; the University of Nottingham and the University of Kent.
University of East Anglia – Pawject Project
Pawject Project helps homeless people integrate back into society by giving them employment opportunities through the manufacturing of dog beds. To build a sustainable community project, the Enactus team has partnered with Norfolk Industries, a recycling center that manufactures pet bedding and Under-1-Roof, an organization that provides support for homeless and unemployed individuals by developing their skills, experience and employment, enabling progress. The dog bed is sourced from recycled materials such as unused nappy cotton which is purchased at a low cost from Norfolk Industries and surplus fabrics collected from local alteration shops. The team has implemented a 5 Week Skill Development Programme, where 4 to 5 team members go to Under-1-Roof once a week to conduct a sewing workshops where they train the attendees on how to make the dog beds. The long term goal is to sell the dog beds commercially.
University of Nottingham – CodeX
CodeX teaches young people on the autism spectrum to program and introduces them to the tech industry through the Enactus team’s network of businesses within Nottingham. The team provides a ten-week coding course, work experience with employment support, and advice from local tech businesses. The course is split into 6 weeks of programming and 4 weeks of employability workshops (including industry talks and CV workshops). The course is taught by trained and paid students from the School of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham. The project’s work experience opportunities are provided by the team’s network of business partners, e.g. Experian, Nottingham City Council, SecurITism. Through CodeX, the team is tackling the serious and overlooked lack of social mobility in today’s society. Only 16% of people on the autisim spectrum have full-time, paid employment in the UK. Many employers are looking employ people who can code; however, many applicants are not qualified.
University of Kent – EcoFeast
EcoFeast focuses on building sustainable communities by tackling issues such as social isolation, community integration, and food waste, through a cross generational cookery program. A survey conducted in the city showed that retirees ranked the lack of activities for older people as one of the main focuses for improvement in the community. After looking into the activities available for the elderly community in Canterbury, the team found little that provided a weekly interaction or opportunities to expand their ties with the local community. By providing the means for a cookery course, the elderly can obtain weekly interactions while being able to impart their knowledge onto the younger generations. With the various Enactus projects that are already tackling food waste, the team decided to join the movement by introducing surplus food (from supermarkets and alternative sources) as the main ingredients, to show the younger generations the possibilities of using leftover ingredients.
Ford of Britain’s marketing Director, Lisa Brankin (above), was on hand at the ExCeL to announce the three winners of the Ford College Community Challenge.
The event culminated with the announcement of the Enactus UK National Champions, which this year, was the University of Edinburgh (above).