It is exactly thirty days to the Enactus Nationals. I am excited!!! Let me tell you why. It is the biggest platform in the country where undergraduates are able to present mind-blowing projects. This year, it is holding at the Eko Hotel and Suites from the 14th to the 16th of July.
Me: You won the nationals last year, and represented Nigeria at the world cup. Details? Zam: The world cup was held in Cancun Mexico, in Moon Palace Resort, to be precise. We took 2 projects to the world cup. We were in the finals, after going through the opening round and the semi finals, we came second runner up behind UK and Germany.
Me: Great! How did it feel? Zam: Well……, it feels a little different from the nationals.Maybe because there is a feel that everybody there is a champion and that you’re there to network.At the end of the day, it is not the competition that matters, it is the network you have established.
Me: What was that one thing you learnt that will make you a stronger contender this year?
Zam: One thing I learnt is that you needn’t struggle to succeed. Once you’ve done the right thing, everything will fall in place. ENACTUS first off is a NETWORK of students. I made a lot of friends at the world cup. Some of those networks are becoming International business networks.
Me: The Enactus competition is based on certain criteria. How important are they to the success of a team‘s project? Zam: The judging criteria are the yardstick for a team success at any level of the competition. Most projects work in accordance to these criteria, but if you’re not able to state how you met those criteria, you presentation will be as good as a debate
Me: Let‘s talk about the projects. What were the objectives and how did the team utilise the criteria to achieve the objectives? Zam: Our projects are designed based on the judging criteria. It requires a full understanding of the criteria before we begin project development. We usually have a training session at the beginning of the year to understand the judging criteria.The judging criteria states: “considering the relevant economic, social and environmental factors, which enactus team most effectively empowered people in need by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living’.
Me: Polytechnics have been on strike since the beginning of this year, will it affect your chances of being fully prepared in July?
Zam: Polytechnics been on strike is a serious factor that has been and will definitely our preparation.
Me: Apart from the strike, what other challenges have your team faced and how have you been able to overcome them? Zam: We have faced financial and human resource challenges, but we are Enactus students. We make use of what we have to achieve our goals
Me: Objectively viewed, do you think Enactus gives the right environment for the developing of entrepreneurial skills? Zam: Enactus is the best brooding ground one can ever get. You can freely make mistakes and nobody will scold you. If you can’t do it while you’re in Enactus, you’ll hardly ever find the chance again.
Me: What should we expect from team Kadpoly at the nationals this year? Zam: As to what to expect from Kadpoly, I’d have loved for my team mates to say what they are bringing. I’m just the Team Leader, they are the TEAM. They are the ones that decide what we all do as a team. But I’m saying, expect us to come crazy. We are looking forward to the competition, but we looking forward more to the networking, friends and after-party.
Me: After party? Zam: Yea. My team loves to party. I hear they say we are the #most-partying-team in the world.
Me: Correct me if am wrong, recently the winning teams from Europe present projects that have Africa as their target audience, what does this portend for African teams? Zam: I’d say European teams are using Africa as a means of winning the cup. The world already sees Africa in a poor and pathetic light. When some teams outside Africa decide to carry out a project in Africa, the world sees them as the MESSIAHS of Africa, whereas we in Africa are doing the came thing they came to do.
Me: If we are doing the same thing they do, and they keep winning while we don‘t, is it not possible that we are missing something? Zam: The question is “is it all about winning or effective empowerment”?
Me : It should always be about effective empowerment Zam: And charity they say begins at home. Europe has its problems, if they (European teams) are to present projects executed in Europe and a team from cotonou should present just 7 minutes of a project executed in Africa, believe me, Europe has little or no chance. They (Europeans) are leveraging on the bad light in which Africa and Africans are portrayed. We Africans, the ones portrayed in bad light can’t leverage on the “darkness of Africa” to work for us. It barely works.
Me: What do we leverage on? Zam: What you leverage on is to agree on how dark Africa is and how you are bringing in the light in your own way
Me: Final words-what should be changed, improved or scrapped?Remember you are speaking fr your team
Zam: What should be changed? On what level? Country or world?
Me: On both
Zam: What should be improved is the reward system. Agreed, enactus is an NGO, and the students are volunteers, but we all need motivation.
I’m not talking monetary motivation, but motivation like the top 3 teams get to attend the world cup (even though only the first team gets to present), or an assurance that each enactus student gets job placements with our country sponsors’ offices. Etc
Me: Thank you so much for your time. I wish your team the very best.
P.S I will be uploading my interactions with other teams from now till the nationals. Stay tuned and remember to support your team in any way you can. See my other post on Enactus here. How is your team preparing? What do the teams have to look out for? They will be glad to hear from you.