April 10 saw the University of Edinburgh’s Enactus team take home the trophy from the Enactus United Kingdom National competition after spending the weekend in London to showcase their hard work on this year’s new projects.
Enactus is a global platform for students to develop businesses which aim to “create a better, more sustainable world”. Enactus Edinburgh runs multiple social enterprises simultaneously, making an impact both here in Edinburgh and internationally, working on projects with communities in countries including India, Ghana and Kenya.
The showcase pitched by Enactus Edinburgh incorporated three of their projects: Aiding Change, Lilypads and Sanitree. Aiding Change works in Ghana, providing affordable hearing aids to those who need them, while Lilypads and Sanitree work in Kenya and India respectively, providing women and girls with sanitary pads in areas where stigma and poverty can make these products inaccessible. As well as improving the lives of individuals, these social enterprises are also sustainable. Aiding Change’s hearing aids use solar power to run, and Lilypads’ and Sanitree’s pads are washable and reusable, making them better for the environment and more affordable for those using them.
The win for Enactus Edinburgh means they will be travelling to Silicon Valley, California in October to represent Enactus UK in the world cup, placing Edinburgh on a global platform. The Student caught up with members of the team to ask them about their recent victory, their plans for next year, and what students can do to get involved.
The team were clearly ecstatic that their hard work this year has paid off. Ines El-Saui, outgoing president of Enactus Edinburgh, commented that “being crowned National Champion still feels like a very surreal experience. Our entire team of 83 students has put in a tremendous amount of effort to create and run projects that are truly impactful and life-changing, and to have our hard work recognised makes our involvement in Enactus even more rewarding”. Ellie Patey, incoming co-President for 2018-19, added that “sometimes you have a lot of setbacks or don’t really feel like you’re making a difference, but seeing everything the team has accomplished this year, in an audience with 1,000 other people, I felt very proud to be part of this team”.
However, this victory has only increased their ambition to make a difference. Vice President Nicolette Cross told us “I’m especially proud of the fact that I don’t see this drive wavering after our win at Nationals. If anything, I’m excited for the team to continue doing better”. Ellie also elaborated on Enactus’ plans for next year, when she and Kobby Thomas will become co-Presidents, explaining “next year we’ll be aiming to expand our projects to impact even more lives and start some exciting new ones. We also want to increase the social aspects of the society – I’ve made some amazing friends through Enactus and it’s a great way to meet people from every discipline”.
With 83 members, Enactus Edinburgh is a large society incorporating many social enterprises besides those showcased at the National competition. Local enterprises include Slurp, a business selling soup and working with disadvantaged communities in Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh Candle Company, which trains unemployed women to make and sell environmentally friendly soy wax candles. Other international projects include FogCatcher, operating in Nepal to provide communities with safe drinking water, and Palma, a company training unemployed people in Malawi and the Dominican Republic to make insect repellent soap.
If you want to find out more, Enactus Edinburgh will be holding a showcase of the work that crowned them National Champions at 3pm on 10 May in Teviot Debating Hall.
You will also find Enactus at the Activities Fair in September, where you can sign up to get involved with their projects, and start contributing to the operation of social enterprises which are changing lives globally.
Image: Ines El-Saui