Okanagan College Enactus teams advance to nationals

Two teams will get chance to see if they’re best in the country

An impressive finish at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition means at least two Okanagan College Enactus teams are heading to the national competition in May for the chance to once again distinguish themselves as Canada’s best.

Okanagan College’s Enactus Organization sent five teams – 34 students – to compete in the Canada Regional Exposition in Calgary. The results impressed coaches and once again surpassed expectations with two first-place finishes, one in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge and the other in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge. An OC Enactus team also scored a third-place finish in the Scotiabank Eco-Living Green Challenge.

“We’re the only team in Western Canada out of 23 to get two first-place finishes,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College School of Business professor and faculty advisor with Enactus OC. “We’re extremely proud of how these students represented their college and community and know that we have some very busy weeks ahead as we continue working on our key projects and prepare for the national competition ahead.”

The Enactus OC team emerged from regionals with an impressive $6,000 in prize money and are still awaiting the results from the McCain Social Enterprise Challenge which was led by Kelowna’s Abbey Jones, Nick Gallant, Cooper Simson, James Van Maren, Kyle Smith, Cassandra McColman and Josh Wiebe.

The top-six teams in the country compete in this challenge, which awards a $20,000 grant to the national winner. After the other regional competitions are completed, Enactus OC will find out if they move forward to the final stage in this challenge.

This year the teams took a risk and presented on several new projects including Start-up Weekend, Accelerate Youth and Recharge.

The entrepreneurial team, comprised of coach Kyleen Myrah, Salmon Arm’s Relan Johanson and Laureen Shannon and Vernon’s Abby Lagerquist and Mitchell Vanlerberg, took first place in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge for Start-up Weekend, a bi-annual two-day intensive workshop that helps local entrepreneurs in Salmon Arm make successful business start-up plans. The team also presented on the successful Launch-a-Preneur project.

The Accelerate Youth project, which teaches practical skills to at-risk youth was led by coach Scott Overland and Kelowna’s Jessica Egyed, Jessica Overland, Jamie Park and Marshall Kutyn. It placed first in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge.

Taking third place in the Eco-Living Green challenge was the green team, consisting of coach Mark Ziebarth, Vernon’s Braydon Davis and Kelowna’s Emily Pilon, Carmen Larder and Wade Gable. The project helps people power up their devices on the go while also providing a conduit for giving back to the community.

“The outstanding performance from all five teams is a testament to the passion, hard work and dedication the Enactus students have for entrepreneurialism and solving real-world issues,” said OC Enactus president Abbey Jones. “It’s truly inspiring to watch our team grow closer during competition preparation and nothing beats watching them shine on that stage as they speak to the amazing things being accomplished everyday through our programs.”

Jones, a fourth-year OC Business Administration student, also achieved a victory of her own at the competition, being named one of only two females from Western Canada to receive the HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow award. She received a $1,500 scholarship and a further $2,500 project scholarship for her team to be used for the advancement of women.

“Being recognized in this way is the cherry on top of a successful four-year run with Enactus OC,” said Jones. “Without the support and mentorship from the OC community, my faculty advisors and Enactus Canada it wouldn’t have been possible. I’m looking forward to meeting other inspirational women at the National Exposition and learning what it truly means to be a woman in business in today’s world.”

Enactus OC is a student-run organization that has a long history of distinguishing itself in nation-wide competitions for its contributions to entrepreneurship and to the communities it serves.

The national competitions are held from May 14–16 in Toronto.

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