DCU wins Enactus Ireland business competition

University beat teams from seven other colleges

Terence O’Rourke, chairperson of Enactus Ireland,  said the students had shown “tremendous understanding” of the social needs and challenges their projects set out to address. Photograph: Mark McCall

Terence O’Rourke, chairperson of Enactus Ireland, said the students had shown “tremendous understanding” of the social needs and challenges their projects set out to address. Photograph: Mark McCall

 

Dublin City University has won a national competition recognising students who use business principles to create and implement community projects.

The university beat teams from seven other universities to win the Enactus Ireland national competition. Enactus, an international not-for-profit organisation founded in the United States in 1975, is the world’s largest university-based partnership between business and higher education for social change.

Three other universities, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Limerick and the NUI Maynooth made it to yesterday’s final. Students presented their projects to a judging panel comprising senior business leaders and Leinster rugby captain Leo Cullen, an Enactus Ireland non-executive director.

DCU impressed the judges with how effectively they had applied business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to develop two social enterprises. The team’s Headstarts project enables people with intellectual disabilities to explore their artistic and creative qualities. Its second project, AkiDwA Designs is a socially conscious and ethical clothing line developed in collaboration with women in direct provision centres and Irish charity AkiDwA.

TCD came second in the competition with projects that included an app that matches surplus food from restaurants to charities and another that provides services for the long-term unemployed. NUI Maynooth presented a business project in which tumble dryer lint is recycled to make firelighters, and University of Limerick presented a project on improving the IT skills and employability of homeless people in the city.

Chairperson of Enactus Ireland Terence O’Rourke said the students had shown “tremendous understanding” of the social needs and challenges their projects set out to address.

“It is so inspiring to see these students bring about positive change in the lives of other communities. Enactus enables students to explore possibilities, apply their best thinking and make a real difference in the world,” he said.

Olympic boxing champion Katie Taylor, who presented the awards, praised the competition.

“Enactus is a fantastic initiative which brings together students and business leaders with a shared vision and passion for creating a better, more sustainable world through the positive influence of business. I’m so impressed by the students who have worked so hard to bring about real and lasting change in their communities,” he said.

The DCU team, comprising Hannah Dobson, Evelyn Boyle, Liam Redmond, Olayiwola Ogunsanya, Katie Mannion, Ciara Egan and Ciara Ennis, will represent Ireland at the 2013 Enactus World Cup in Cancun, Mexico, in September. The Irish students will be joined by finalists from 39 countries.