He surprised everyone by becoming the first turbaned member of the student government of Humber College, IGNITE, on March 17.
On May 9, for the first time, Navdeep Singh, elected to the IGNITE Board of Directors, will also be one of the participants at Enactus Canada National Exposition representing Humber College, which is itself taking part in this competition for the first time.
Enactus brings together student, academic and industry leaders from across Canada to celebrate the achievements of Canada’s future leaders and entrepreneurs.
Thousands of students from different colleges and universities from across the country showcase how their community outreach projects and business ventures are enabling progress through entrepreneurial action.
On their way to the nationals, the Humber Enactus team had a lot of hurdles to clear.
“We started in November 2015 and also had a faculty advisor back then, but he later got selected as a coordinator for the business school,” Singh said.
“Initially, it was three of us who wanted to do something,” he recalled. “We were not only left to work on our project alone, we also had to interview and hire our own faculty advisor,” Singh said.
After a few recruitment events and interviews, Enactus participants hired Ryan Planche as their part-time faculty advisor.
Planche said Enactus Canada is a separate program that tries to get students together to work on some entrepreneurial initiative.
“Most of the projects have their focus on sustainability, trying to address an existing condition or a problem within the business community, he explained.
Planche joined the group at the end of February. He spent his time learning the process and understanding the project and also getting to know the team members.
Enactus Canada also hosts a World Cup competition annually, which a Canadian team from Memorial University of Newfoundland won last year.
Representing 69,000 university students from more than 1,700 post-secondary campuses worldwide, 33 national champion teams represented their countries at Enactus World Cup 2016 held in Toronto last September.
Humber’s project is called Project Funds. Participants saw a need to provide better financial literacy to students coming out of high schools, such as ability to handle credit cards, student loans and manage debt.
“Right now the Toronto School Board relies on parents to address this issue who might not have enough information, time or resources,” said Pukky Fambegbe, future Enactus co-president.
“Actually, I was not here when they were creating this project but have been helping with the research and presentation ever since I joined,” Fambegbe said.
Through rounds of live, presentation-based competition, business leaders serving as judges determine which Enactus team and student entrepreneur will be named National Champions and represent Canada on the global stage.
Peter Reale, participant and project manager of Humber Enactus, is excited to compete at the highest possible national level of the competition. The World Cup will be held in London, England next year, but Reale wants to focus on the process of competing now.
“As a start-up team it would be really nice to win, but we will be happy if we can compete at this level to the best of our abilities, he said.
Humber Enactus participants put together a program to increase financial literacy among high school students. They had to pitch the project to high schools and see if any of them agrees to make it a credit course for its curriculum.
The Toronto Central Academy was interested. Two members of the Enactus team tutored its students one hour a week. The academy added it as a curriculum credit in a Financial Literacy course.
“We had a few big projects in mind but given the logistics and resources we had, this was the best thing,” Singh said. The faculty advisor Planche agreed with him and called their project, “the need of the hour.”