History repeated itself. Enactus Durban University of Technology (DUT) wins the Enactus South Africa 2019 National Competition! The Enactus DUT team of students from both the Durban and Midlands campuses defended their 2018 title and were once again crowned the national champions from the 16 competing universities at the annual National Competition held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg from 8th -9th of July 2019 accompanied by the Faculty Advisor Ms Lana-Ann Brady and Co-Faculty Advisor Ms Nontokozo Ngcobo. Enactus DUT were the first University of Technology to win the competition in 2018 and now to retain the title for the second consecutive year is feat indeed.
The team will represent South Africa at the Enactus World Cup where they will be competing against the National Champion Teams from 36 countries each showcasing their respective social entrepreneurship projects on the 16th – 18th September 2019 in the famous home of innovation Silicon Valley, San Jose, California (USA).
The Enactus DUT winning Agri-Business project showed how the team built greenhouses by recycling and repurposing 2 litre plastic cold drink bottles; demonstrating the social, economic and environmental impact of the project. The team collaborated with six (6) primary schools conducting an awareness campaign on plastic waste and initiating a competition encouraging the pupils to collect 2 litre cold drink bottles. In excess of 47 000 plastic bottles were collected from the drive.
The bottles were in turn used to construct three (3) greenhouses in Cato Ridge, Mtubatuba and Enyoni. A similar greenhouse which was constructed in Noodsberg in 2018 is testament that the structure can withstand extreme weather conditions and is a cost effective solution in addressing water shortages, the cost of expensive fertilisers, reducing growing times, controls pests and allows vegetables to be grown out of season due to the controlled growing conditions. Furthermore, the vertical growing structures inside the greenhouse have markedly increased the crop yield per square meter.
The team have come up with an even more cost effective, innovative greenhouse design which they are in the process of constructing at Mangete Primary School in the iLembe district. The school will use the vegetables from the greenhouse for their feeding scheme as well as sell the vegetables to the local community as a source of income generation.
To promote the sustainability and scalability of the project, Enactus DUT have partnered with South African Mini Industry Development (SUMID) and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD) in iLembe to assist in providing the beneficiaries with access to market to sell their produce.
Ms Brady is dedicated to developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators by affording students valuable experience to advance their personal and professional lives through their participation in the Enactus programme. She attributes the team’s success to their values of integrity, passion, dedication and commitment which is expressed in their many hours of activity in the program – submitting reports timeously, travelling hundreds of kilometers to the various project sites, working and sleeping in sometimes harsh conditions, sacrificing their weekends and holidays and so much more. Enactus DUT are making history in creating a better, more sustainable world through their “never say die” attitude.
Ms Ngcobo excitedly concluded that it was a great experience to see the students fully participating in such a dramatic and energy filled event where university teams across South Africa showcased their collective impact of their respective community outreach efforts, learning from one another and from the business leaders who were serving as competition judges and sitting on panel discussions.
The DVC Research, Innovation & Engagement, Prof Sibusiso Moyo, who is responsible for the entrepreneurship enterprise at DUT, congratulated the DUT Enactus Team and its Academic Advisers as well as the Faculties, Heads of Departments and DUT Executive Team and all who continue to ensure that there is an enabling environment, time, resources and infrastructure to support the Enactus initiatives across campuses. “We wish them the very best in the international competition as they represent DUT for the second time”.