Enactus is an international non-profit organisation, founded in the US. It works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilise university students to make a positive difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. With active programmes on more than 1,500 campuses in 39 countries and the support of hundreds of corporations, Enactus represents a great network between business and higher education.
KPMG is the founding sponsor of Enactus Ireland and is working closely with the other main sponsors: AIG, Arthur Cox, Enterprise-Rent-a-Car, KBC Bank, Unilever, and the Musgrave Group, to extend the reach to more students nationally and encourage the development of an entrepreneurial approach to community issues.
Winning Team from DCU celebrating their victory with Katie Taylor and Terence O’Rourke
Three other universities, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Limerick and the NUI Maynooth made it to the competition final. Students presented their projects to a judging panel comprising senior business leaders and Leinster rugby captain Leo Cullen, who is an Enactus Ireland non-executive director.
DCU impressed the judges with how effectively they had applied business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to develop two social enterprises. The team’s Headstarts project enables people with intellectual disabilities to explore their artistic and creative qualities. Its second project, AkiDwA Designs is a socially conscious and ethical clothing line developed in collaboration with female asylum seekers and Irish charity AkiDwA.
TCD came second in the competition with projects that included an app that matches surplus food from restaurants to charities and another that provides services for the long-term unemployed. NUI Maynooth presented a business project in which tumble dryer lint is recycled to make firelighters, and University of Limerick presented a project on improving the IT skills and employability of homeless people in the city.
Karina Howley, Head of CSR for KPMG and Terence O’Rourke, Chairman of Enactus Ireland presents Caoilinn Doran a student from University of Limerick with one of the seven KPMG Travel Bursaries presented at the event.
Chairperson of Enactus Ireland Terence O’Rourke said the students had shown “tremendous understanding” of the social needs and challenges their projects set out to address. “It is so inspiring to see these students bring about positive change in the lives of other communities. Enactus enables students to explore possibilities, apply their best thinking and make a real difference in the world,” he said.
Olympic boxing champion Katie Taylor, who presented the awards, praised the competition. “Enactus is a fantastic initiative which brings together students and business leaders with a shared vision and passion for creating a better, more sustainable world through the positive influence of business. I’m so impressed by the students who have worked so hard to bring about real and lasting change in their communities,” she said.
The DCU team will represent Ireland at the 2013 Enactus World Cup in Mexico, in September. KPMG also presented seven Travel Bursaries to students from the universities who did not win, to also travel to Mexico, so that they get to experience the international event, learn about the projects from the other 38 participating countries, and bring back ideas to improve their respective projects for next year.