A group of 52 Irish students including five from DCU travelled to Johannesburg, South Africa last week to compete for Team Ireland in the Enactus World Cup for student entrepreneurship.
Enactus is a worldwide initiative which encourages university students to tackle social problems by setting up social enterprises. Enactus runs programmes in 36 countries encompassing over 70,000 students.
‘Access Earth’ was the social enterprise presented by the team of 17 NUI Maynooth Students in front of 30 leading business brains from companies such as KPMG, Unilever, Barclays and Coca Cola amongst others.
“Access Earth is like Tripadvisor for the mobility-impaired. It’s an online resource that allows people to rate restaurants, hotels, clubs, pubs etc. on their accessibility. We are currently in the process of developing a booking system for the website”, said Enactus NUIM Team Leader, Darren Smith.
Despite being eliminated in the first round of the World Cup, he was positive about the overall experience.
“For the team, the experience of representing Ireland at the Enactus World Cup is something that will never be forgotten. I know just how much the experience has meant to them and how fulfilling it was for them as individuals.”
The final consisted of four teams, the United States, Morocco, Korea and the eventual winners, the United Kingdom, who were represented by the University of Southampton.
The UK presented three projects based in Africa. San Eco, a Kenyan based sanitation initiative, Right Light, which aims to eradicate the use of kerosene in Africa by replacing it with solar alternatives and Juamaji which tackles access to water across Africa.
“The winning team from the UK were awe inspiring”, said DCU Team Leader Mark Farrelly. “They showed me that even if a project seems too big it’s worth having a go.”
Speaking on his experience as a whole he said, “Funnily enough I was most motivated and inspired by the other students, not the high flying CEO’s. It has energised me to a new level and I can’t wait to get working on this year’s projects!”
The Irish group were the 9th largest delegation of students from a single country.