The Power of Social Enterprise
My name is Eryn Navarro and as a University of Guelph student, I am committed to one simple purpose and that is to improve life.
Every day, in small ways and big ways I make intentional decisions about how I can be improving life. As part of this commitment, I join groups and organizations that provide me with tools and knowledge about how to have positive impact on our world. Two groups I have become a part of are Enactus Guelph and The John F. Wood Centre.
I first got involved with Enactus two years ago when my friend and I attended the University of Guelph’s “Passport to Success” event that showcased all the exciting clubs and organizations on campus. Enactus stood out to me because of their strong mission and vision. Enactus works to tackle social, economic, and environmental issues through the creation of social enterprises.
A social enterprise is an organization that is committed to improving communities while also leveraging a sustainable business model and a market need to solve a social and environmental problem issues. Social enterprises can be a commercial business or a nonprofit but what defines them as social enterprise is their desire to create positive impactful change.
At Enactus we decided to focus this year’s efforts on creating companies that focus on waste reduction. The three projects that Enactus are currently working on are: Flourish, Kind Hive, and Ugly Apple Cider.
Flourish is a project that diverts industrial food waste, like brewer’s spent grain, to create a consumer-friendly, nutritionally dense spent grain flour that can be used to bake bread or other baked goods. Flourish is sold to bakeries and individual consumers.
Kind Hive is our second company that sources beeswax from local honey producers to make a variety of household and beauty products like our Kind Hive candles and perfume.
And finally, Ugly Apple Cider is our last project where we produce cider from “leftover” fruit from grocery stores, restaurants and campus that would not be viable for sale due to appearance.
The above three companies are all great examples of social enterprises and through these companies Enactus students get to hone their entrepreneurial skills and spark change in their community.
The John F. Wood Centre is the innovation and entrepreneur hub on campus, and is the official sponsor of Enactus. Through my work at Enactus I became involved with the John F. Wood Centre as the Social Media Peer Helper! The John F. Wood Centre has taught me the mindsets and core skills required to excel as an entrepreneur and I bring those learnings into my role with Enactus.
In the past few years there are many things that I have changed in my life to become more environmentally friendly like always carrying a reusable water bottle instead of single-use plastic water bottles, donating and shopping at thrift stores for used clothing instead of buying new clothing that I will wear once a year and helping my mom out with the gardening so we can grow our own produce. But I am most proud of the work I have done with Enactus, as creating Social Enterprises is creating an impact in an entire community and inspiring change in others.