(HALIFAX) 20 March 2017 – Last year, students from Nova Scotia Community College – Pictou Campus constructed a raised garden bed at a youth homeless shelter, empowering residents to care for the crops. This year, they’ll convert it into a greenhouse and lead workshops to teach youth at Roots House the foundations of gardening, while also connecting them to local farmers markets where they can turn their additional yields into profits.

Meanwhile, students from Saint Mary’s University are empowering youth to follow their entrepreneurial passions through a 20-week program that encourages them to join the workforce, return to school or launch their own business.

Enactus NSCC Pictou and Enactus Saint Mary’s University 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.

To-date, the Enactus NSCC Pictou’s Raising the Roots Garden project has enabled the preparation of 30 healthy meals for 11 youth, saving the shelter approximately $300. This year, they anticipate they’ll increase number of meals to 90 for 30-40 youth, saving the shelter at least $900 in grocery costs and providing an additional income of $200 through farmer market sales.

Enactus Saint Mary’s’ OPtions Youth program has seen many successes. One participant launched a clothing line, Family Over Fame, while another launched a food bundle program in his home community of Uniacke Square called Square Roots. Thanks to the program, 18 youth have been directly impacted, and have been lifted out of poverty.

“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.

“Scotiabank believes in supporting projects that help young people reach their infinite potential,” said Craig Thompson, Senior Vice President, Atlantic Region at Scotiabank. “Congratulations to the winners of the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge, a special competition where young people inspire each other to improve their communities and the world around them. Thanks for showing us just how talented this generation of future leaders is.”

On March 17, student teams demonstrated their youth empowerment projects to panels of business executives as part of the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition – Atlantic Canada, held in Halifax.

Enactus NSCC Pictou and Enactus Saint Mary’s 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

Diana Hart
Public, Corporate and Government Affairs, Scotiabank
diana.hart@scotiabank.com, 416-866-7238