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Okanagan College Media Release
More than a dozen Okanagan College students will have the opportunity to compete in the national Enactus Canada exposition in Toronto this May after winning first place in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge and the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge and third place in the Capital One Financial Education Challenge at the western regional Enactus Canada exposition held in Calgary this past weekend.
“The students continue to amaze and inspire me in their creativity and entrepreneurial skills,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, faculty advisor. “It takes an entire team effort and the incredible impact they are having in their community is a result of their commitment and engagement.”
The first place finishes for Okanagan College will secure the two teams spots at the national competition in the areas of entrepreneurship and the green challenge where they will go up against regional winners from Central and Atlantic Canada. The College will also have the opportunity to send a national team of students to compete for the overall title.
The fifteen award-winning students are from each of the College’s four regional campuses.
Okanagan College has built a solid reputation at the competition, which includes 18 post-secondary institutions with more than 300 participating students from across western Canada.
For the second year in a row Okanagan College took home the biggest prizes: two golds, a bronze and $3,500 in cash prizes. On the road to the podium, the College outperformed competitors from UBC, SFU, Brandon University and the University of Alberta, among others.
The teams presented to a panel of independent judges on a number of community-based projects, all developed and organized by the Okanagan College student group.
“It is amazing to see the difference our team is making in the community, how meaningful and powerful of a connection we make with the people of our communities,” said Paven Sekhon, President of Enactus Okanagan College. “I am very proud of the team, and all of the hard work that went into this, we would not be here if it wasn't for our faculty, our community and the support of Okanagan College.”
The teams presented on projects that were implemented in every one of the four College communities. Among them was the Farmbag fundraiser (Penticton and Kelowna), which helps to make farming more viable and sustainable for Okanagan Valley producers and Instill Life, an educational program for students in Grades 4-6 that runs in 10 classrooms (270 students) across the cities of Penticton, Vernon and Kelowna.
One of the most high profile projects run by Enactus Okanagan College in Kelowna is Venture Okanagan. An open forum for entrepreneurs, Venture Okanagan provided 30 local entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of investors. Since its inception, Venture Okanagan has provided 17 per cent of participating entrepreneurs with equity investment.
“Every year, our students amaze us by demonstrating their drive to succeed and their desire to give something back,” said Nicole Almond, President of Enactus Canada. “The work being done in the Okanagan by our community of business, academic and student leaders is inspirational and gives you hope for the future.”
Now in its eighth year of operation, Enactus Okanagan College has expanded its reach and community impact significantly. The program operates at all four campuses of Okanagan College and has an active membership of 110 students. With 10 projects underway annually, and by engaging 231 community stakeholders, Enactus Okanagan College has directly impacted more than 10,454 people.