Enactus is a non-profit student-led organisation which harnesses the entrepreneurial skills of students to create positive social and environmental change. In light of Welcome Week, I caught up with Enactus Nottingham’s President, Jonathan Priddle, and Vice-President, Aymbujan Srijothy, to find out more about the organisation.
Evie – How would you best describe Enactus?
Jonathan (President) – To sum up Enactus in one word would be ‘opportunity’. For ourselves as students, we are provided with the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects and, as a business student myself, learn a lot of business practices and business theory. Students are never really provided with much of a chance to put their business knowledge into practice whilst at University, however by joining Enactus you can explore these theories and try out new things. When I first started Enactus, I knew I wanted to work in business, but I didn’t know what area, be that finance, marketing, management, or anything like that. By joining Enactus, I was allowed to try all those different fields. Rather than committing to a certain role for an internship or a placement, I could complete it for a few weeks on a small scale, and that helped me narrow my fields down. In terms of the projects, we also aim to provide opportunities to individuals external to the university. For example, through Razoration, a project which helps the homeless, we strive to provide them with the opportunity to get back up on their feet and change their lives for the better. So yes, ‘opportunity’ is how I would best describe Enactus.
E – Why do you believe students should join Enactus?
it provides that opportunity to be a part of a business environment – something which may not be offered within your course
J – Like I say, it’s about putting innovative ideas into real work, and exploring different roles within a team. If you’re not a business student, it provides that opportunity to be a part of a business environment – something which may not be offered within your course. And the end of the day, most students will be working in the business environment, so getting a feel for that corporate world is incredibly beneficial. Being a member of Enactus also means that you can diversify your skills. For example, if you’re completing a chemistry degree and are a member of Enactus, you have that additional quality to elevate you above your chemistry graduate competition. I’ll use my parents as an example, they were both chemists who came into the business industry as chemists but finished as project managers, and therefore became greatly involved with running the business. Enactus would enable students to state, ‘I’ve put my chemistry into action’, or ‘I’ve also had a go at managing this project, so I know how to manage a project successfully’. Our organisation provides you with those diversified skills.
We’re also in the process of working with our coaches, all very keen to come into Enactus Nottingham and give speeches about their experience in certain fields, and provide career talks about their companies; a lot of them working for companies such as Schroders, Amazon and EY. Not many students also know that by being a member of Enactus, you can get a fast-track system on some of our sponsor’s schemes for graduates. So once again, Enactus facilitates your career progression in a variety of ways.
E – Jonathan, you’ve touched on how Enactus is also suited to individuals not pursuing a business-related degree. Could you expand on how these students could use their degree, whether it’s humanities or STEM-related, to facilitate Enactus’ projects?
our organisation opens the doors to expand other career opportunities unrelated to their university field
J – I think the easiest one to provide an example for is a Biology or a plant-based degree. Within our environmental project, Ecologeco, there’s a lot of science that needs to go behind the project. We can have as many business students as possible running the project, and we’ve got a great management team, but at the end of the day, we need the actual development of the project to bring it to market. And with engineering, it’s a similar issue, we’ve got various projects where an engineering background is required to properly market the product. For example, within the project U-Cycle, we need to build a racking unit to store the bikes. An engineering student involved in the development of this unit can work on a project related to their degree, all while getting a feel of a corporate-simulated environment. After talking to our organisation’s partners, many of their graduates did not complete a Business Studies degree. Some employees studied English and they’re now in a Finance role. Other employees studied Biology and they’re now in Marketing role. Through Enactus providing students with experience in business, our organisation opens the doors to expand other career opportunities unrelated to their university field.
Evie – What initiatives or events does the society have planned for the near future?
Aymbujan (Vice-President) – One of the biggest Enactus UK opportunities presented to our university organisation are the six partner competitions. Companies such as Bentley and Schroders will be present at these somewhat ‘dragon’s den’ imitated competitions. We begin by applying Enactus Nottingham to these competitions (pitching each of our university’s projects) to provide us with practice and feedback from the professionals themselves to prepare us for the National competition. Here’s a synopsis of the trajectory for the six partner competitions. In semester two, the sixty UK universities which hold Enactus projects will send in their videos and be evaluated by judges from various prestigious companies. From this, twenty universities will be selected from the pool of sixty Universities. The same process takes place again, whittling twenty universities down to just five. These top five Universities are then selected to present at the National competition in London. The National winner will then represent the UK and compete with other countries at the World Cup, which typically takes place in October.
E – Are there any specific achievements or projects you are particularly proud of during your Vice presidency thus far?
students from a whole range of different degrees were involved in the internship
A – When I took on this role, one of the key goals I wanted to achieve was to leave a legacy, not only for Enactus Nottingham but also for Enactus UK. Over the past summer, I thought, ‘How can I help give opportunities to people?’, and after speaking to some of my friends and fellow students, the common problem was how incredibly difficult it is to receive an internship offer. Some people are remarkably clever but did not receive an internship opportunity. Firstly, perhaps because they were too slow to the process or secondly, they were simply unlucky. Therefore, I had the idea of presenting the students who either did not receive an internship offer or are simply passionate about achieving the SDG goals, with the opportunity to complete a consultancy summer internship, consulting on Enactus Nottingham’s social enterprises. Whilst completing my internship at EY and my second internship at Enactus UK, I ran the Enactus Nottingham consulting internship. We selected over fifty analysts to work on eight of our projects. I the experience I learned from Enactus UK and EY, tried to mimic and bring on to the Enactus Nottingham Consultancy Internship. Within the internship we ran a session on consulting, we brought a professional in and explained certain ins and outs of the business consultancy field. This proactive business endeavour not only granted people with a fantastic opportunity, boosted their confidence and made a positive social impact, but also put Enactus Nottingham in a stronger position for this academic year. Students from a whole range of different degrees were involved in the internship, including both law and medicine.
Gaining different perspectives from across the degree spectrum is invaluable in creating positive business growth for Enactus.
E – What skills or qualities do you believe are essential for someone interested in taking on a team leader role within Enactus?
A – To preface, you need to be passionate about what you are doing. It’s like a part-time role, if you’re not passionate about what you are doing, it won’t be completed to the highest standard. Being an empathic person is also incredibly important. If you are not empathetic, you won’t be able to lead a team; you need to ensure that you can build up that relationship management. Without that rapport, you won’t be able to successfully understand what your team wants to gain. Number two; you need to have a vision. Without a vision, your team will be lost, and the risk of disengagement runs high. Number three; you must have clear communication. Empathy and communication work hand in hand. The difference between a ‘good’ TL and a ‘great’ TL will all come down to the relationships you build within your team. You need to make sure that each member feels comfortable and valued within the group. This is achieved by listening to their ideas and being a friend whom you support during their time at Enactus. Empathy, vision, and communication are qualities that must all be balanced. Fundamentally, at Enactus Nottingham we not only strive to create positive social and environmental impact but to build a sense of community for all our student members.
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