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Okanagan College students cross the country to pitch entrepreneurship
Okanagan College Media Release

A delegation of students from Okanagan College’s Enactus team traveled to Montreal recently to meet with top business executives,Enactus MRC Sept 2014 entrepreneurs and students from Quebec after making a lasting impression with one of the lead judges at Canada’s national Enactus competition. 

Michel Kelly-Gagnon is the president and CEO of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) and also serves on the Board of the John Dobson Foundation. The well-known executive was selected as a judge for the national Enactus exposition, where he was first introduced to students from Okanagan College’s award-winning team.

“In April I had the distinct pleasure and honour of acting as a judge in the final round of the 2014 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Calgary,” said Kelly-Gagnon. “On that occasion, I heard great presentations from students from various universities about how they were making Canada and the world a better place, through entrepreneurial actions and a mentality of autonomy and self-reliance. 

“In my view, one of the best initiatives presented, if not the best, was the InStill Life project from the Enactus Okanagan College team.”

Kelly-Gagnon was so impressed with the student-led project, he invited the team members and their faculty mentors to make a presentation to his Board and Montreal university students, in the hope of bringing a similar program to Quebec. 

InStill Life is an Okanagan-born project that students from the College’s Enactus team have been building for the past six years. The project is led by Enactus team members who work with Grade 5 and 6 students through a series of 10 lesson plans, all with prescribed learning objectives. The elementary school students create micro-businesses that generate profits that are directed to people around the world through a micro-lending program. 

Throughout the course of the program, the youth learn about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, personal selling and micro lending.   

“I can tell you already that our objective is to facilitate the implementation this program, or a similar program, here in Quebec,” explained Kelly-Gagnon.

“Being identified as a leader in the Enactus network and having our InStill Life program showcased to the audience in Quebec is testament to the strength of our team and the incredible programs and community partners we work with on a daily basis,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Enactus Okanagan College faculty advisor. “I am looking forward to the relationships we are creating to bring our impact to even greater levels across Canada.”

Enactus Okanagan College president Tom Arrowsmith was a part of the Okanagan College team that traveled to Montreal to present the project and said the experience has the potential to create a new partnership that could increase the project’s impact across the country.

“What a fantastic opportunity to present our InStill Life project to students, donors and business leaders in the Quebec region,” said Arrowsmith. “Our team is excited to see how this program can grow and expand both locally and across Canada.”