Firstly welcome to our first ever blog post under the new brand! All the old posts are still available at http://sifeukblog.wordpress.com/. The change over is part of the on going re-branding, so please make sure you are directing your students to this new blog – enactusuk.wordpress.com.
Secondly Enactus headquarters gave us all an early Christmas present earlier this month by announcing the next venue of the World Cup. If you haven’t heard already it is going to be held in Cancun, Mexico between 29th September – 2nd October 2013. Find out more information here – http://enactus.org/worldcup/world-cup-2013/
So with that announcement it should be motivating all teams to be pushing projects and get you thinking about competition preparation as National Competition is only 120 days away! We also want teams to start thinking about fundraising to try and send someone to the next World Cup to be part of the UK contingent. As you will find out from the information below it is an amazing experience that you can learn so much from that will benefit the future of your team.
We are lucky enough to have a great blog written by one of the observers from the last World Cup and we wanted to share his experiences with you…
I have been saving this blog for a time when I would be able to really give it the justice it deserves so here we go!
The Enactus World Cup; the pinnacle of being an Enactus student, Enactus UK staff or Enactus Alumni. I was told early on in my Enactus journey that there are 3 type of people who join the organisation. Obviously people fit into more than one and overlap so this is quite a generalisation but hey:
1) The Altruist: The people who want to save the world, make a difference and impact people’s lives. They aren’t doing Enactus for themselves!
2) The CV person: They see the vast network of amazing business leaders and soon to be business leaders within the organisation and want to be a part of that to further themselves career wise.
3) The Growth and developer: That person who wishes to further their own growth. They want to learn new skills, maybe public speaking or leadership and Enactus is the perfect way to do that.
These seem broad enough…but I think there is really a 4th category: The competitive people – Anyone from any Enactus team will develop this side (I am sure even if you won’t admit it) but it is there! The Enactus World Cup is the pinnacle of the Competition, it is what we all aspire towards. We want to win our National Competition in order to compete and broadcast our projects on a global scale, and I mean worldwide stage – with hundreds of people watching you, even in the opening rounds! Being at the World Cup, you are competing with 39 other countries, 39 National Champions; if this isn’t exciting and gets your competitive streak out, I don’t know what will.
When I decided to go to the WC, I wanted to be there for the competition, and thought that this is what I would enjoy the most, but the World Cup is that and so much more. So what actually went on?
Before competition even kicks off you have 2 events that change your thinking about Enactus: the cultural fair and opening ceremony. The cultural fair is a what I can describe as a cacophony of different cultures, dances, and in reality is pretty overwhelming! The cultural fair is where each national champion team is given a stall and they have to represent their country; most teams do this by wearing their national dress or anything that represents their country. You walk around experiencing the tastes, sounds, laughs, dances (these seemed to be in abundance) of the 39 countries with things ranging from tasting the world’s most disgusting drink from Kazakhstan, to dancing wildly around with the Ghanaian, Senegalese and Nigerian teams, to wandering around with Jess Ennis and Mo Farah masks and UK flags like we were doing! It is one big party! Everyone wants a photo with you, everyone is happy, and everyone is grabbing freebies! I managed to bag myself a Canadian t-shirt, what I can only describe as some Guatemalan woollen balls necklace and an American cowboy hat…I think I won on the cool free-stuff competition, if we were having one. What is striking here is the camaraderie; everyone is an Enactus student, everyone has that passion for Enactus social entrepreneurship that can only really be found from people involved in the organisation, and everyone wants to be your friend! For a crazy social person like myself, this is heaven! The cultural fair is a blur of countries flags and one that everyone should go to!
And then there is the opening ceremony…if the cultural fair was crazy, this was another level! Not only was the new name Enactus announced to everyone, but K’naan performed “Wavin’ Flag”! How cool is that! “Wavin’ flag” has become known as the World Cup anthem, sung randomly (a lot) throughout the whole event and now will forever bring back good memories. Seeing all the Enactus students dancing together in the huge auditorium; it was carnage with some people even getting on stage next to K’naan (well done Josh from Enactus Southampton!) but it was quite a spectacle and something that I won’t forget in a hurry! There was a reason why Wavin’ Flags was actually chosen and ended up meaning so much; it was unbelievably powerful seeing so many country teams in that room waving their flags together making the song have a real special resonance for all of us there.
The name was the big announcement at the ceremony and from being a staunch supporter of the name SIFE, I am now fully behind and happy with our new brand! It summarises everything that we stand for, and definitely makes explaining our organisation that much easier. People used to ask me to explain SIFE, and to be honest, it was really hard, but with Enactus; “Enabling progress through entrepreneurial action” just flows off the tongue. After the announcement came speeches from the people high up in Enactus Worldwide (funnily enough, in all my 3 years in Enactus, I had never even heard of the name Alvin Rohrs even though he is probably, indirectly, the most influential person in my life to date!).
Then came the flag ceremony, this is a fantastic spectacle, but one that does take a little too long for my liking in reality. All the members from every country are invited onto the stage to parade their flag across to the (hopefully) cheers from the crowd. With our country beginning with a ‘U’, this would take a while…but nonetheless being part of the Enactus UK team made me so happy, with Southampton really making me feel a part of it too (something I will speak about later).
So the competition; for those of you who don’t know it, the WC has an opening round, semi-final and final round in the same format as the UK comp with the rooms getting bigger for each round. The opening round had 8 leagues of 4/5 teams (2 go through), the semis 4 leagues of 4 (top one goes through) and the final round therefore had 4 teams. The competition was stiff, and even though some of the programmes are smaller than others, everyone there deserved to be! The projects presented were simply inspiring and truly a vast step up from the National Competition. Every team had seriously transformed lives with projects from Kyrgyzstan transforming the lives of 4 housewives in a rural village, to the Indian teams superb solar lamp project, the whole experience was nothing but humbling for me. Seeing what students can do to change the world, and have such a huge impact made me so jealous of all you current Enactus students who still have the chance to make a difference within the organisation. Anything is possible for us, and this world cup made this hit home for me. And of course, it made it even sweeter that our Enactus UK team made it through to the semi-finals! Fantastic achievement Southampton- game on next year!
Although these things made it an awesome experience, there were 2 other things that stood out for me and I will take them away probably even more than the incredible work and inspiration that the WC gave me (I know, hard to really think that anything could).
The first is the alumni spirit. What a great group of people…SIFE4LIFE (our old phrase) really works and having such a large group of alumni out to cheer the Southampton team on, and of course enjoy the celebration element of being out in DC, I know really helped the Southampton team and helped create an incredible atmosphere! We are lucky to have a fantastic group this year of alumni. Current Enactusers…USE US! You wont get anyone who cares more about Enactus than us who have been there, done that, had World Cup experience and just love Enactus (and want to keep changing the world by proxy!) I mean, someone like Jo Blundy who has been to I don’t know how many world cups…if you don’t seek out advice from her/others like her, then you’re just silly!
The second, and thing that I will take back and made me the most happy, was the cooperation between Enactus UK teams! As I said before, I am one of the most competitive people you will meet (Chris Coates and Jahaan can especially vouch for this as well as my whole, now ex, Notts team!) but this World Cup was a shining example why we should also look to help teams as well as focus for the competition. What I mean is to help share best practices, help the whole organisation grow, and continue to force all teams to innovate for the better! Working with the Southampton team before the WC was a new experience for me; I hadn’t worked with any other team apart from my own before really, and seeing how similar they were in their work styles, work ethic, and general sillyness when we get over-Enactused and tired, made me wonder why I hadn’t had the opportunity to do it before? Not only that, but realising in DC that we were one big team and credit to Southampton, never letting one person feel left out and not part of the team, even with people graduating from over 7 unis out there! It really was one UK team, one big family really and I loved every minute of that. Enactus UK are doing a great job of getting teams together to give them the forum for more best practice sharing, and as above with the alumni point, it is down to the teams to make the effort to learn from others…you’d be silly not to!
Yes we have that competitive edge, but that is not what came out of the world cup for me (even if I am seriously competitive and jealous that it was Chris, Lois, Anna, Amy, Will, Lottie and Mike in that Presentation team and not me). It was the camaraderie, the passion, the wanting to change the world for the better, the network and the overall pride in my country that I took away! Wow what an event…wow, what an opportunity, wow what a great organisation we are part of! I have pledged to be at the next one wherever it is in the world (maybe it was a drunken promise with Phill Murray and Chris Coates regardless of what team makes it) but it is so worth it!
Whatever the result, whoever won, I was inspired…It should be the goal of everyone to go to an Enactus WC if you can in your lifetime…I wanna go to them all! Being there made me want to keep being a huge part of Enactus. This organisation is taking a new direction, one that can only make Enactus grow and continue to change the lives of people around the world!
Happy holidays everyone and lets hope next year we get even better! Lets aim for a UK team in the final of the Word Cup 2013!
(Ex-President Enactus Nottingham and keen been Enactus Alumni currently travelling across the pond)