BUILD LASTING SOLUTIONS.
At Enactus uOttawa, we do not only assess the need and opportunity of projects and their development in the short term. We thrive to build sustainable and long lasting SOLUTIONS.
Examples of our past projects that are now self-sustainable business ventures include:
EcoEquitable is a local charity dedicated to teaching immigrant women how to sew in order to provide them with meaningful employment. Years ago, our team found them and saw an opportunity to re-invent their program in order for it to grow.
We wanted to change the fact that EcoEquitable was solely relying on donations in order to fund their operations. With our team's extensive business background, we knew we could provide practical business models and training to allow them to start running this themselves. In addition to this, the organization had an opportunity to not only help these immigrant women, but to reduce the release of toxic methane gas - and that - by reusing textiles otherwise sent to landfills.
After seeing these opportunities, we took action to create EcoEquitable's very fist boutique. As EcoEquitable was teaching sewing skills and collecting donations, Enactus was in charge of handling all business operations. In addition to such, we looked for more sustainable fabrics by teaming up with local distributors. Once the basic foundation was established, our team took it one step further by creating an e-commerce website, organizing pop-up sales, and implementing and inventory management system also capable of tracking accounting and sales.
In order to ensure that EcoEquitable becomes even more self dependent, Enactus created a program with EcoEquitable to train immigrant women to familiarize with the management side of the business such as: customer service, selling, marketing and operations. Since March 2014, we’ve managed to create a social impact by employing 16 immigrant women, ensuring an economic impact by generating revenues of over $21,000 and promoting an environmental impact by reducing 7,000 lbs of textile away from landfills.
With EcoEquitable being so incredibly successful, we’ve already decide to plan to expand even further with different communities such as the Inuit community and correctional facilities to potentially, implementing this same model.
CigBins is a cigarette butt disposal unit and collection service created by our team. The social enterprise is partnered with Causeway Work Center and offers employment opportunities for individuals with a mental illness.
Cigarette butts is one of the most littered item in the world, counting as 37% of all visible waste, with 600,000 + cigarette butts littered everyday and with the government needing to put $5,000,000 in order to clean them out. A couple of Enactus students found this to be a great opportunity to create a business. They began with conducting a survey with smokers and they found that, 90% of were unaware that cigarettes were non-biodegradable, harmed wildlife and polluted the water systems.
Enactus saw eliminating cigarette butts as a direct way to impacting society while also, creating meaning employment to those who are often excluded from society: those with mental illness. By partnering with Causeway Work Centre we were able to provide people with mental illness a meaningful employment in attempting to also reach our environmental goal.
Enactus began to take action by creating more sustainable receptacles for smokers. We dealt with problems such as them being unhygienic, ease of use, being fireproof and preventative from theft and damages. Working with a talented industrial designer, we managed to come up with a design we knew would make our mark. With the receptors built off a simple concept, these bins were then installed in high traffic locations where, cigarette butts are then either recycled or transformed into crates or plastic. There are two revenue streams: the first being an installation fee of $120 then additional recurring fee of $30 for each pickup.
To date, with only 5 people employed, we managed to generate 73k with over 100k cigarette butts recycled. Creating a social impact by providing employment for those who have mental illness, promoting an economic impact by generating over 73k in revenues and finally, creating an environmental impact by collecting and recycling over 100,000+ cigarette butts.