Project linking informal business to resources wins accolades for Enactus University of Pretoria

Posted on August 13, 2019

A project that connects informal brick makers with companies that produce ash as a by-product has won Enactus University of Pretoria (UP) second place at a national competition where 15 other universities competed.

Enactus UP was ranked second after a brilliant presentation at the Enactus National Competition held recently at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

Enactus is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action.

Siyanda Guma, President of Enactus UP 2019 said: “We are proud that we received second place even though we badly wanted first place – but the ethos of Enactus truly does mirror the competition’s hashtag, #WEALLWIN.”

The goal of Enactus is to create economic opportunities for communities in need through the development and implementation of numerous social empowerment projects.

Students who join Enactus are encouraged to take measures to empower communities through the practical implementation of their academic, social, emotional and general skills. Enactus operates in 36 countries with over 1 730 university teams and 72 000 students participating in its initiatives annually.

Every year, Enactus South Africa hosts a national competition in which students from universities across the country come together to showcase and compete by presenting their community development projects. This competition provides a platform for students to network with each other as well as with companies that may offer employment opportunities. The winning university represents South Africa at the Enactus World Cup which will be taking place in Silicon Valley, USA, this year.

Professor Themba Mosia, UP staff and Enactus UP 

Enactus UP presented one of its six projects, Phoenix, which links informal brick makers (beneficiaries) to companies that produce ash as a waste product during their production process. The intention is for informal brick makers to secure supplies of ash from these companies. This ash supply will reduce the cost of production for the beneficiaries and, in turn, will increase the beneficiaries’ value proposition due to ash bricks being lighter, more durable and having better insulating properties than standard bricks.

The beneficiaries from Mamelodi were not only linked to Isowall, a company that burns coal in order to manufacture polystyrene, thereby producing ash as a by-product; they were also taught financial literacy skills. According to Guma: “It’s important not only to act as the link to resources, but to empower our beneficiaries with skills that will enable them to find more resources for themselves, and make their businesses sustainable.”

Enactus UP managed to place first in the Thematic League and subsequently won awards for the Harmony LED Enactus Challenge and the Nedbank Scaling for Impact Enactus Challenge. Furthermore, it won the Ford C3 Building Sustainable Communities Challenge, which ran parallel to the Enactus National Competition, for its “Tswelopele” project and it was a finalist in the MTN ICT Enactus Challenge for yet another project, Patio Pallets.

Professor Themba Mosia, Vice-Principal: Student Affairs and Residences, invited the Enactus UP team’s executive committee to a congratulatory meeting recently. The committee was accompanied by its faculty adviser; Dr Rina Wilken, Head of Student Development; Dr Matete Madiba, Director: Student Affairs; and Dr Jorissen, Deputy Director: Student Affairs. Prof Mosia expressed his pride for Enactus UP as “one of the best teams in the university”, and further celebrated the entrepreneurial flair, leadership and personal growth of the team’s members.

Prof. Mosia gave assurance on the future of Enactus. The hope is to involve other executive staff members from the University in order to provide resources and facilities for the Enactus team, thereby enabling its projects to achieve greater positive impacts in communities.

Senzekile Mabasa, Enactus UP Marketing Director for 2019, raised awareness for the challenges faced by the programme, and stated that “we see challenges as an opportunity to take action and we believe in establishing sustainable solutions — not merely asking for handouts”. It is for this reason that Enactus publishes and sells the UP Student Diary as a fundraising initiative. The diary ensures a year-to-year running of Enactus’ various projects in different communities. The 2020 diary will be ready for purchase on 17 August 2019. It is UP student-friendly as it features important information such as the UP calendar, student structures and where to find help regarding academic matters and student well-being.

Enactus will begin recruitment again in September. The current cohort stressed that students who are interested in joining Enactus should not withhold their candidature if they believe that they need to have prior experience or business acumen. Instead, “Enactus is looking for students who are zealous to get involved in social empowerment initiatives and who desire to attain new essential skills necessary for the corporate workplace,” Mabasa said.

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