To those who don’t know me, I’m Tom, current Enactus UK Alumnus, ex-VP of Southampton, and currently work for Tesco on their Technology Graduate scheme. I’ve been involved with Enactus for four years, and I can honestly say, they’ve been the best four years of my life. I’ve learnt so much, met so many amazing people, and been lucky enough to learn about so many great projects. Below are just some of the reasons why I love the Enactus Competition (and why you will too).
- Energy and Excitement: The Competition is the pinnacle of the Enactus Year, and the culmination of weeks and months of frantic presentation prep, sleepless nights and all the hard work put in projects all year round. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend 3 Nationals, and I’ve loved every single one of them. Even sitting here, writing this, I’m twitching with excitement to see all of the amazing, life-changing, well-and-truly empowering projects that make Enactus so special. If you’re reading this, and you’re unsure if you want to go or not, I have three words for you: JUST DO IT. You won’t regret it. The energy and buzz around the Novotel is undeniable, and seeing all the different teams really makes you realise that you’re part of something huge; , a big, happy Enactus family (if somewhat nervous, pre- and during Competition).
- Networking: Competition is a collection of the country’s greatest entrepreneurial, socially-motivated young minds, business leaders from a wide range of industries, and the world’s greatest alumni (in-my-totally-unbiased opinion). Shameless Plug #1: if you’re leaving University this year, join the Alumni; I’ve learnt so much in the brief time I’ve been an alumnus. And the socials aren’t bad either. There aren’t many other opportunities for you to really grow your post-university network, and I can’t think of a better group to start with.
- After Party: I don’t really need to explain why you should be coming to the After Party – Enactus and slight alcohol consumption go really well together. It will be a night to remember. And a morning/afternoon/following couple of days where you wished you hadn’t had that last shot of tequila. Please note, Enactus UK does not actively encourage alcohol consumption, but if you see me at the After Party, I’m always a grateful recipient of drinks…
- Careers Fair: I’ve always found the Careers Fair to really be an eye-opener; Enactus never seems to surprise me with the number and size of the sponsor companies it attracts. I was fortunate enough for all the jobs I’ve had to be at sponsor companies, and I’m not unique in that claim. I’ve gained so much in my career from Enactus, and the Careers Fair is an excellent way to expose yourself to some of the world’s biggest and best companies. Shameless Plug #2: I’ll be there representing Tesco, so if you read this, come and say hello, we’d love to speak to you!
- The Playlist: You won’t be able to escape the playlist during the competition, but in terms of playlists, there’s nothing better. There will be countless repeats of ‘Wavin’ Flag’, ‘If This Is It’ and the classic ‘I Was Here’. I mean how many situations is singing along to Beyoncé in public socially acceptable? It is at Nationals, and that’s another reason why I love it – singing along to Beyoncé is actively encouraged.
- University students: If I’m honest – all the other reasons pale into insignificance compared to this one. You guys are the ones that have put in all the hard work creating projects and empowering people at home and in countless countries across the world. Without you, there isn’t Enactus; you are the reason we all keep coming back, year after year.
- Sharing ideas: If all of those other reasons aren’t enough, then this should surely be the clincher. All teams have ever-so-slightly different (and some drastically different) approaches to running projects, running the team and engaging project partners (to name a few…) and the Competition is your platform to best practice share with students and teams facing (or have faced) similar problems as you. Nationals exposes you to such a wide variety of projects, helping every single need group I can think of, and getting outside insights is so valuable for you and your team, and will serve to make your projects better and better. Shameless Plug #3: The best place for best practice sharing is at the Project Fair, which Tesco are sponsoring this year! Come and spend some time speaking to all of the different teams and you’ll get to fully appreciate the diversity of projects that Enactus UK will have to offer.
Essentially, the Enactus Competition is the best thing ever, and you should definitely make it your mission to get yourself and as many of your friends there as possible. It really is worth it.