Laurier’s Enactus team was named overall national champion at the Enactus Canada National Exposition on May 29 and will go on to represent Canada at the Enactus World Cup, planned to take place virtually from the Netherlands from Sept. 8 to 10.

Laurier’s team was named champion among 58 teams across Canada, 20 national semi-finalists and five finalist teams, including Lambton College (former national champions and World Cup winners), the University of Ottawa and St. Mary’s University (last year’s national runner-up).

“I am beyond proud of the team,” says Laura Allan, assistant professor in the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics and faculty advisor for Laurier Enactus. “We’ve been rebuilding over the last four years and to see what the students have achieved in such a short time is nothing short of awe-inspiring. These students truly embody ‘inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.’”

Enactus is a global network of student teams dedicated to entrepreneurship and social innovation. Last week, Laurier Enactus’s Waterloo team presented two of their ventures, EarthSuds and Last20, in the Scotiabank Climate Change Challenge and was named the national champion. EarthSuds was also named the national champion in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge. One of the team’s newest ventures, Smile Tabs, was awarded the 3M Canada Best Project Accelerator Award. The venture, which produces single-use toothpaste capsules, was created after its student founders won Laurier’s first-year BDO New Venture competition.

This year’s competition represents the first time in 15 years that Laurier’s team has won any national title and the second year in a row that the team advanced to the overall national final round.

EarthSuds, created by Laurier BBA student Marissa Vettoretti in 2017, produces single-use shampoo, conditioner and body wash tablets to eliminate the need for plastic toiletry bottles. The venture just launched its e-commerce site this past fall and its plastic-free toiletry products are now carried in over 55 retail stores across North America.

Last20 seeks innovative and sustainable ways to upcycle plastic waste. The company sells shirts, each made with six upcycled plastic bottles, and is working with researchers to develop a way to replace some of the bitumen, used as a binding agent in pavement, with waste plastic bags. The resulting product is not only sustainable, but more water-resistant, stable and cost-effective than conventional pavement materials.

Another Laurier Enactus venture, as well as a student and an alumnus, were also finalists in the national competition. Mighty Hawks, which supports individuals with developmental disabilities to become more financially independent, was named the national runner-up in the CWB Financial Literacy Challenge; Abbey Bibbings, former Laurier Enactus co-president, was one of six finalists for the HSBC Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Award; and alumnus Blair Forrest, owner of AMZ Prep Canada Ltd., which helps businesses sell their products on Amazon’s marketplace, is a finalist in the Student Entrepreneur of the Year category, the winner of which will be named in June.

The Enactus Canada competition, which began in March with regional competitions, drew 58 teams from colleges and universities across Canada to present their community outreach projects and business ventures to a panel of judges from the business community.