ihadLast week, the Enactus Saint Mary’s team travelled to Vancouver to compete in the 2019 Enactus National Exposition. Out of the 135 Saint Mary’s team members, 42 of those students travelled to participate in the competition. Enactus is a global organization that encourages students to develop community-based initiatives by taking entrepreneurial action. This year, Enactus Saint Mary’s showcased their award-winning Square Roots project which aims to tackle food insecurity and food waste across Canada.
In 2016, Square Roots launched the Bundle Service, a monthly service offering 10 pound bundles of locally grown fruits and vegetables that do not meet the cosmetic standards of grocery stores. Bundles are then sold at various pop-up locations across Nova Scotia, costing customers $5 or $10 (customers have the choice to pay whichever price works best within their budget). The Bundle Service focuses on reducing food waste on farms while making food more easily accessible to people living in “food deserts”, defined as an urban area with limited access to affordable or good-quality fresh food. To expand their impact, in early 2017 Square Roots launched a Token Program that reduces food waste in restaurants. Physical Tokens are sold for $5 at local retailers and can be redeemed for a full meal at any of the 16 participating restaurants. Tokens can be purchased for personal use or to be given to someone in need.
This year, Square Roots partnered with a local craft brewery, Boxing Rock Brewing Company, to produce 14 Carrot Gold, a pale ale made using imperfect, locally grown carrots. Boxing Rock produced nearly 2000 bottles of beer that were sold at NSLC’s across the province. With every bottle sold, $0.50 went towards the purchase of Square Roots tokens that would then be handed out to those in need, to redeem a hot meal. Continuing their efforts, Square Roots partnered with Beer for Dogs, a Nova Scotia business that offers nutritious and refreshing drinks for dogs, with no alcohol contents. The collaboration led to using Square Roots’ “ugly” vegetables to include in each batch of Beer for Dogs.
Square Roots is one of five projects run by the Enactus Saint Mary’s team. During the competition, the team competed in three topic challenges, in addition to their final 17-minute presentation. The team did exceptionally well, making it into the final round of the competition where they competed against three other finalist teams including Lambton College, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Ryerson University. Enactus Saint Mary’s was named Runner Up at the 2019 Enactus National Exposition. They also took home second place in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, third place in the CWB Financial Education Challenge, and second place in the Hellmann’s Real Food Rescue Challenge.
This year, the Enactus Saint Mary’s team has had an economic impact of $746,079, invested $226,910 in futures, diverted 67,687 pounds of food waste, improved 30,113 lives, provided 27,009 meals, and created 59 jobs.
Also during the competition, Saint Mary’s University Master’s in Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation student, Ross Arsenault, was named the 2019 Student Entrepreneur National Champion. Ross received $10,000 to put towards his business, Ashored Innovations, which focuses on improving sustainability within the commercial fishing industry through the development of user-friendly and purpose-built innovations.