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Bringing current and future business leaders together for the common good

The inspiration? Enactus (previously known as the Students in Free Enterprise). The concept? Empowering students to empower communities through harnessing the positive power of business.

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Enactus (previously known as the Students in Free Enterprise,  is an international organisation that aims to mobilise university students to do good for their communities through harnessing the positive power of business. Enactus's model encourages entrepreneurial endeavours and the empowerment of people so that they can help themselves.

The Enactus model is tried and tested. It operates in 39 countries and claims to have over 57,000 active students executing projects all over the world.  

An important element of the model are current business leaders, who could be managers, CEOs, Directors etc. These business leaders use their extensive knowledge and experiences to mentor and support projects created by Enactus students.

As a graduate of the Enactus programme, I can think of several reasons for Enactus's success:
1. It's win-win for all parties: 
  • Businesses are looking to support social endeavours and these Enactus students have readily available projects to support
  • Students who wish to have access to future career opportunities have a platform to network with business leaders

2. Being all-inclusive:
  • By understanding that the 'old' (current business leaders) have something to offer to the 'new' (future business leaders), that is a wealth of knowledge and experience, Enactus manages to close the generation gap with the common vision of doing good for the community

3. Emphasising on sustainability:
  • A strong factor that Enactus projects are judged on is the fact that it has to be sustainable. By emphasising on sustainability and self-sustaining models for Enactus projects, inspiring others to take action becomes easier when we all see that our actions have a long-term, lasting effect.

So how can we inspire other companies to do good? Create a model that is win-win, at the same time making sure that the model is inclusive and sustainable. Companies will not want to do good if it does not benefit them, or if it only has short-term, unsustainable impact.


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