A Grade 12 International Business class from John Polanyi CI (JPCI)
has won national recognition for its business projects focussing on important social issues. The team was named winner of Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) Canada National Entrepreneurial Competition in the Social Enterprise Business (SEB) category.
SAGE connects secondary school students with university and college students, business leaders and civic leaders to promote youth entrepreneurship and community service. Economic opportunities are encouraged in the context of ethical business practices, social responsibility, civic engagement and environmental awareness.
In March 2014, JPCI students began planning, designing, marketing and executing three Social Entrepreneurship ventures:
• Project Dreams, which seeks to improve Aboriginal Education & awareness by making and selling Dream Catchers
• Hunger Warriors, which raises funds for the North York Harvest Food Bank through the sale of customized mugs
• Helping Hands - Raising funds for The Redwood, which assists victims of Child Abuse
Students developed business models through needs assessments and research, and then created products. As part of the project, students partnered with key community organizations, developed sales initiatives within schools and a few of Toronto’s shopping malls, and managed their team's finances.
The group’s presentation won over a panel of judges made up of representatives from Corporate Canada. Student Lyne D said there was a great deal of thought that went into that presentation. "We spent so much time learning the script to make sure we were confident in the way we presented and to ensure we spoke to the hearts of the judges," she said.
Classmate Stefan P agreed and said it was a valuable experience. "It…helped build entrepreneurial skills, and I learned what is needed to create a successful enterprise in the future."
Business & Cooperative Education Teacher Rahim Essabhai said he was
“extremely proud and impressed” by his students. “I hope they continue to look for ways to utilize their passions to fuel actions for positive change,” he said.
They won’t have to wait long to share their passions for these particular projects again. As winners of the National Competition, the team has been invited to the SAGE International World Cup Competition, which will be held in Moscow, Russia in August 2014.