(MISSISSAUGA) 13 March 2017 – In an effort to increase the high school graduation rate in Nunavut (35%), students from the University of Ottawa launched Sanajiit, a furniture-making social enterprise that teaches northern youth carpentry skills, while also employing them to upcycle discarded wood into in-demand products.

In a small Peruvian village, Ryerson University students partnered with the Kusi Kawsay school to develop a sustainable on-ground business, located out of the schools’ community garden producing locally-made, organic products, which are then sold to local restaurants.

Upon learning that 60 per cent of students leave high school without basic financial education, students from the University of Windsor created Youthrive, an intensive 10-week one-on-one consulting and financial literacy education program focused on accelerating young entrepreneurs.

Enactus University of Ottawa, Enactus Ryerson University and Enactus University of Windsor have been named 2017 Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge Regional Champions. The winning teams were selected by Canada’s largest experiential learning platform, Enactus Canada, and program supporter Scotiabank.

Through project Sanajiit, Enactus University of Ottawa students worked with five youth to launch a business selling recycled wood furniture, with 500 lbs recycled last month alone. Through weekly workshops, they also coach youth to lead the overall business strategy, marketing and sales campaigns for their business.

Through Enactus Ryerson University’s project Sacred Valley, five youth have been employed and a total of 117 youth have been impacted through a hands-on approach to learning.

Through Enactus University of Windsor’s Youthrive, 446 youth who operate their own business have been empowered, over 1,000 youth received skill development and workforce training and 36 new youth job opportunities have been created.

“Being a young Canadian today isn’t easy, the youth unemployment rate is almost twice the national average and debt levels are soaring,” said Nicole Almond, President of Enactus Canada. “This challenge empowers students to affect the long-term sustainability of their communities by focusing on youth.”

The Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge encourages post-secondary students to develop and deliver projects that address the needs and opportunities facing youth. Focused on education, learning skills and supporting the life-long success of youth aged 25 and under, this challenge has engaged 3,175 students since 2016, who have impacted more than 15,922 youth through 149 community empowerment projects.

On March 10, student teams demonstrated their youth empowerment projects to panels of business executives as part of the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition – Central Canada, held in Mississauga.

The three Enactus teams will now move on to the national level of competition taking place May 9-11 at the 2017 Enactus Canada National Exposition, taking place in Vancouver.

ABOUT ENACTUS CANADA: Enactus Canada, the country’s largest post-secondary experiential learning platform, is shaping entrepreneurial leaders who are passionate about advancing the economic, social and environmental health of Canada. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, more than 2,734 entrepreneurial post-secondary students led 280 community empowerment projects and business ventures last year in communities coast to coast. As a global network of 36 countries, Enactus uses the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. For more information, visit enactus.ca.

ABOUT SCOTIABANK: At Scotiabank, we aim to support organizations that are committed to helping young people reach their full potential. Young people are our future leaders and Scotiabank’s goal is to help ensure that they have the necessary skills and resources they need to support their success. Together with our employees, the Bank supports causes at a grassroots level. Recognized as a leader for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2016, Scotiabank contributed more than $70 million to help our communities around the world.
Scotiabank is Canada’s international bank and a leading financial services provider in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and Asia-Pacific. We are dedicated to helping our 23 million customers become better off through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of more than 88,000 employees and assets of $887 billion (as at January 31, 2017), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (TSX: BNS) and New York Exchanges (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit www.scotiabank.com and follow us on Twitter @ScotiabankViews.

Media Inquiries:
Jennifer Falzon
Director, Marketing & Strategic Growth, Enactus Canada
jen@enactus.ca | 416.304.1566 x222 | 416.315.2099