Wednesday, 28 September 2016 15:41

MHC group given global-scale award at Norway conference

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At the awards ceremony of the 13th International education business Partnership Conference (IPN) in Norway Sept. 14-16, Medicine Hat College's chapter of the student organization Enactus accepted an award for a Global Best Award for Excellence in Partnership Development. On the far left was a representative from NASA (as well as on the far right); Medicine Hat Enactus' Colton Eremenko; Enactus faculty advisor Darren Howes and a representative from IPN. At the awards ceremony of the 13th International education business Partnership Conference (IPN) in Norway Sept. 14-16, Medicine Hat College's chapter of the student organization Enactus accepted an award for a Global Best Award for Excellence in Partnership Development. On the far left was a representative from NASA (as well as on the far right); Medicine Hat Enactus' Colton Eremenko; Enactus faculty advisor Darren Howes and a representative from IPN. Contributed

Often flying overseas means enjoyment, but for Colton Eremenko who grew up on a farm south of Acadia Valley, a Sept. 14-16 visit to Norway was far more fulfilling than just a vacation.


Eremenko, president of the Medicine Hat College chapter of Enactus and Enactus faculty advisor Dr. Darren Howes were on hand to make a presentation to some of the brightest global minds as well as accept an international award for their work on a program they initiated last year.
At the 13th International education business Partnership Conference (IPN) in Norway, MHC Enactus members were given a Global Best Award at the awards ceremony in front of IPN members and associates from all over the world.
These global awards celebrate outstanding and effective business, education and community organization partnerships. MHC Enactus was honoured for its work on the Young Entrepreneur Program in generating entrepreneurial spirit and ideas for two schools in Medicine Hat in late 2015 and in the spring of 2016. Eremenko explains it “celebrates successful partnerships among business and education organizations.”
Eremenko says they applied to be considered for the award. It was worth a shot especially considering MHC won the Impact Award for their Young Entrepreneur Program at Enactus Western Canada Regional Competition in Calgary as well as being named a runner-up at the Enactus nationals. Howes learned of the award first and called Eremenko who was admittedly shocked.
Standing on the Norway stage was thrilling for both MHC representatives.
“Proud, happy, definitely, just doing what seems like really a small thing, but as you kind of reflect on it, I remember we were in Norway looking at these other projects and it’s a global award, five different regions of the world showing what they are doing and you’re looking at these other projects and they’re much more grand scale government projects that’s millions of dollars behind them that are getting nominated. We’re sitting there and thinking ‘hey do you know what, ours is good, we’re really proud of this. This is spectacular.’ We didn’t feel out of place with these great projects there.
“I’m just really proud of the effort they have done to be even considered for something so awesome,” Howes says beaming with a smile. “We’ve been a small group. It’s challenging, we have (natural student) turnover, struggle year over year with it, with donations, etc. ... to have it running, to have business see something they are giving money for, it’s really fantastic.”
“It was just reassurance that we are making a difference in our community and other people see it and not just us seeing that difference,” adds Eremenko. “It was a great moment.”
Enactus is a self-described “community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives.”
“We’re going into the elementary and junior-high schools teaching those kids about entrepreneurial skills and showing them entrepreneurialship is a viable career path when they graduate,” explains Eremenko of a general overview of the program and what they had to describe on the award’s application. “We had to really focus on the partnerships we developed so we initially MHC Enactus started with a donation from Canadian Tire and Medicine Hat College (itself) so we’ve taken that money, and we’ve created this curriculum.”
The program had to expand as it moved over to Roy Wilson School when it culminated in a sale of all of the products created by the Elm Street students.
Word got around about the Enactus project, there was so many junior high Roy Wilson students and teachers who were that excited about participating. There were enough Enactus members who were willing to go into the classrooms to teach. With a different set of students with a difference in socio-economic backgrounds and also ages (i.e. at Roy Wilson, the students were older), Howes was impressed with how the students handled the situation.
“We’re always adapting,” adds Howes who helps facilitate the group, assists with contacts within the community as well as offering any advice he can. “You’re looking for places to make improvements, it is a slightly different age group so that in itself changes the way you connect with them.”
One of the Medicine Hat schools MHC Enactus worked with was Elm Street School where at the time, Enactus worked with then-principal Reagan Weeks and subsequently following that with Sue Nelson.
Weeks is now the assistant superintendent of the Prairie Rose School Division which covers rural schools in southeast Alberta.
This is now the future of the young entrepreneurial program as Eremenko is excited there is an opportunity to bring it to the rural schools.
“That’s the future of the program right now, with Reagan moving over to Prairie Rose School Division, we’re in the preliminary stages of partnering with them and we want to go into rural high schools now. So that way, we have that going all the way from elementary, junior and high schools,” explains Eremenko.
He is now entering his fourth year as a business, marketing and management student working toward a Mount Royal University degree through a Medicine Hat College program.
The fact Enactus won this award was no fluke. Eremenko is complimentary of the Enactus team and says everyone contributes to the success of the group with hard work and diligent effort.
Besides the high international honour, Eremenko had a successful year personally. As a third-year student, he was awarded the college’s Student of the Year at the June 2016 convocation. According to the  college “under his leadership the (Enactus) team has had many wins, including taking home the Scotia Bank Youth Empowerment Challenge Impact Award for their Young Entrepreneur Program at Enactus Western Canada Regional Competition in Calgary. They also were named runner-up in Enactus nationals in Toronto earlier this year.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Eremenko notes this year has been the easiest year for recruitment.
Howes says it’s not just business students who are members as there are visual communications and education students as well. This is good because it offers different perspectives and skills to the group.
“It’s not just a business thing, it’s a Medicine Hat College initiative ... it’s resumé building, but also experiential learn, something that is a passion of mine. I’m just extremely proud of the work that they are doing ... Success breeds success.”
Their first official 2016-17 meeting on Sept. 22 attracted more than 30 students which is a jump from the usual numbers. Enactus is involved in other community programs such as the Inspire Lecture which brings in local entrepreneurs to talk about their ideas as well as other partnerships with local organizations such as the Medicine Hat Food Bank.

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