OC Enactus wows on the national stage with pitch competition win and top-four team finish
Okanagan College Enactus students won first place in the brand-new Intuit Sustainability Pitch Competition category at the Enactus Canada National Exposition, making them the first post-secondary team to win this award and marking them as the team to beat in years ahead.
Enactus OC was recognized as one of the top four teams in the country after an impressive finish at the national finals on the strength of three projects: FruitSnaps, CanSave and Rising. The winning pitch and an impressive second runner-up finish for the FruitSnaps project in the Climate Action Challenge have netted the College’s Enactus team $2,000 in awards – which goes directly back into the programming to support current and future initiatives. This is the third year in a row that FruitSnaps has placed third in the Climate Action Challenge.
OC students Sunidhi Sobti, Gurjot Singh, Karsten Ensz and Danielle Walker made up the team who pitched their idea, Backyard Bites. The idea received accolades for its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by implementing organic edible landscaping in suburban houses through providing eco-friendly gardening kits and services. Students were required to pitch to a virtual panel of judges and the OC team was named victorious after several pitch rounds.
“I am so proud of our presenting and national teams,” says OC student and pitch team-member Walker. “Being the first to win in the Best Idea Pitch category is an amazing feeling and we hope to defend that title next year.”
Over the past decade, Enactus programs in post-secondary institutions across Canada and the world have grown exponentially. Enactus OC has seen much success in years past and have received numerous awards on both the regional and national stages including their most recent regional win which saw them net a trio of first place finishes. The last time OC Enactus made it to the top four teams in Canada was in 2014. Enactus OC is also the only team in Western Canada to make it to the final round of the competition.
“Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, these students stayed committed to their Enactus initiatives and have found opportunities to expand their projects in our communities and our global community as well,” says OC Business professor and FruitSnaps Faculty Advisor Andrew Klingel. “I’m so proud of our teams and it’s wonderful to see their determination, hard work, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit recognized at this level.”
Enactus OC President Nicole Sapieha, who is graduating this spring with her Bachelor of Business Administration, also achieved a victory of her own at the competition – she was named one of just six females from across Canada to receive the HSBC Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.
“I am honoured to have been nominated for this award and am so grateful to be one of the six females across Canada to be recognized with this award,” says Sapieha. “I have been able to lead an amazing group of students during one of the most difficult years we have ever faced, and I am so incredibly proud my fellow students and the faculty that have helped advance our projects and helped us achieve such successful competition outcomes.”
The award is designed to recognize, celebrate and honour female post-secondary students who exemplify success and inspire their peers, community and country through entrepreneurial leadership. She received a $1,000 scholarship and a further $2,500 project scholarship for her team.
“It’s very bittersweet to see this chapter of my life coming to a close,” says Sapieha. “Completing my undergraduate degree as the President of Enactus Okanagan College and as one of the top teams in Canada is an accomplishment unlike any other.”
Sapieha was part of the national presenting team along with fellow students Zackery Plaxton, Rachel Cramen, MacKenna Lenarcic, Danielle Walker, Sundihi Sobti and Karsten Ensz. The students were led by Faculty Advisors and OC Business professors Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Devin Rubadeau, Mark Ziebarth and Andrew Klingel.
Danielle Walker will succeed Sapieha as President of Enactus OC and does so with the confidence coming off victories in the Intuit Sustainability Pitch challenge and as Project Manager for the award-winning Enactus CanSave project.
Okanagan College’s School of Business Dean William Gillett could not be more impressed with the level of competition and talent demonstrated from OC Enactus students.
“Our students truly embody Okanagan College and everything that we do here,” says Gillett. “They are a shining example of transforming lives and communities and I am so pleased their efforts – which include hundreds of volunteer hours – and the efforts of our faculty have been recognized on such a high-profile stage. This is not the first time and will not be the last Okanagan College students will step foot on to this stage and it is only a matter of time before we join the ranks of impressive colleges and universities to vie on the global Enactus level.”
“I hope the students come away from this competition with tremendous pride, because we are certainly proud of them,” says Okanagan College President Dr. Neil Fassina. “These results and accolades are truly impressive and are a small reflection of the even more remarkable real-world positive impacts that these student-led projects continue to generate in our community.”
Tags: Enactus, FruitSnaps, Okanagan School of Business
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