Enactus Memorial runner-up at national championships


Jessica Fleming, left, and Shane Skinner present
as part of Enactus Memorial at the Enactus
Canada National Exposition in Toronto.
(Photo by Sophie Harrington/Enactus Canada)

May 14, 2013

Enactus Memorial is ending its competitive season as runner-up to the national champions, Ryerson University.

"It always seems like Memorial and Ryerson are in contention for the national championship year after year," says Shane Skinner, president of Enactus Memorial. "We've gone up against Ryerson for as long as I can remember in the final round, and in the past eight years, it's been one of us that have won the championship."

The Memorial team, which consists of 73 undergraduate students from the faculties of business, arts, education, science and engineering, took to the stage at the Enactus Canada National Exposition from May 6-8 in Toronto, ON. Fifty-one institutions from across Canada were vying for the title and the right to represent Canada at the world championship in Mexico later this year.

Memorial defeated teams from the University of Calgary, Niagara College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Sheridan College, Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Alberta in the opening round. In the semi-final, the defending champions faced Saint Mary's University, Simon Fraser University and Lambton College, qualifying to face Ryerson, University of Windsor and Okanagan College in the final.

"We knew that we would have to beat the best to be the best, so we were pretty excited to go up against them," says Skinner. "All teams across Canada are doing amazing things, and the gap between the top teams is getting smaller every year, so it's getting tougher and tougher to take home the championship.

"But at the end of the day we were pretty excited to go up against Ryerson. It's always exciting to go up against the best teams."

Memorial's presentation focused on six of its 13 community projects, which aim to help create sustainable communities and improve the lives of marginalized individuals. The featured projects were aGreen Culture, Project Bottlepreneur, Prince's Operation Entrepreneur, World at Work, FYI and Be Green.

Skinner says the presentation team, which consisted of Skinner, Jon King, Kaitlin Smith and Jessica Fleming as well as supporting team members Allison Penton (alternate) and Jared Ploughman and Jacob Pratt (technical design team), excelled in the championship round.

"We brought an unbelievable energy to the stage," he says. "I don't think we could have done anything better. I truly believe it was the best presentation we've ever had as a team, and it seemed like the judges reacted well to our presentation.

"Obviously, it was a surprise for us to be named national runner-up after we presented so well but Ryerson has an amazing portfolio of projects and they deserved to win so kudos to them!"

Enactus is an international non-profit organization that mobilizes university students to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Teams from universities and colleges across the world compete in regional and national competitions for the chance to demonstrate the impact of their community projects at the world championship each year.

Enactus Memorial's community projects have helped start 50 businesses, create 62 jobs and generate over $1.6 million in revenue this year. Nearly 7,000 people have participated in and been directly affected by these projects.

The team has also won the national championship six times in eight years and was named the world champion in 2008.

Skinner, who ends his term as president this year, says the highlight of his time on the team has been the positive impact on the lives of people involved with Enactus Memorial's projects.

"Here at Memorial, we've built a great foundation for success. Whether it's helping veterans who are reintegrating into civilian life to start a business or helping bottle-preneurs to maximize their routes, we are helping countless people better their lives. If we keep motivated and keep the passion that we have displayed for the past 12 months, I have no doubt that Enactus Memorial will be back bigger and better next year.

"In my eyes, we have the best team in the world."

Susan White-MacPherson