Enactus Empowers Young Entrepreneurs to Solve Global Challenges

To make meaningful impact, you’ve got to think big. You also need the right support. Through a team-wide commitment to Enactus, XPV Water Partners is empowering young entrepreneurs to act on their ground-breaking ideas and improve the world.

As a long-time champion of the organization, XPV’s David Henderson says Enactus competitions have nurtured some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs he’s ever met. “These students are trying to solve our biggest challenges,” he says. “They’re tackling real issues like food insecurity and helping disadvantaged communities, and, with support from their peers and mentors, their ideas are working. They’re making a difference. It’s incredible to be part of their journey.”

Today, the global Enactus platform boasts more than 72,000 students across 1,730 campuses in 36 countries. To win regional and global competitions, entrepreneurs must prove that their projects advance the social, economic, and environmental health of communities, create new career opportunities, spark business innovation, and change lives.

With this formula, Enactus positively impacts the lives of upwards of 1.3 million people each year. “That’s the power of Enactus,” says Henderson. “These projects must have undeniably positive and proven results. They need to have meaningful impact.”

Changing the world: Laurier takes on plastics

The annual Enactus World Cup challenges student teams to work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With input from partners like XPV, Enactus has also established special breakout competitions, such as the 1 Race 4 Oceans and Race to Rethink Plastic, to help teams to dig deeper into specific SDGs.

In May 2021, Enactus Wilfrid Laurier University – Waterloo was named the Enactus National Champion for Canada. Inspired to reduce single-use plastic waste, the team created EarthSuds – dissolvable shampoo, conditioner, and body wash tablets. The products are already available at nearly 70 retailers in North America, including stores operated by Loblaw Companies Ltd.  To further their impact, the Laurier team also created Last20, a project that upcycles plastic into sustainable pavement.

“With their solution, the Laurier team has the potential to completely change the beauty industry,” Henderson says. “They can also measurably reduce the volume of plastic waste and microplastics entering our lakes, rivers, and oceans. This is what we mean by impact. It’s no small effort.”

Supporting entrepreneurs for social good

For the XPV Water Partners team, the commitment to Enactus runs deep. Sam Saintonge, now one of the firm’s investment partners, is an Enactus alumnus. Henderson served on the Canadian Board of Directors for more than two decades, has been recognized as a Global Champion of the organization and, along with most of his colleagues, regularly judges national and global competitions. Some of XPV’s investors and portfolio companies have even gotten involved, contributing their time, providing mentorship, and offering other forms of support.

Focusing ideas, energy, and passion

For Henderson, staying active with Enactus is refreshing and rewarding. “There’s a whole generation of very smart young people who believe deeply in climate change and want to solve it,” he says. “They want to achieve each and every SDG.” Enactus is a community that believes in them and their potential, he adds. “We need these people and their ingenuity. We need their influence.”

Staying involved also reminds Henderson of why he chose to build XPV. “We want to make a difference in water – our team is committed to this mission. It’s built into our DNA, and we want to rally to solve these big problems. Engaging with Enactus, supporting entrepreneurs who are passionate about solving the world’s problems – this is how we live our values.”