6 students from Longfields-Davidson High School in Ottawa

Students from Longfields-Davidson High School were named the 2015 winners of Enactus Carleton’s IC Change Challenge.

Carleton University students are helping local high school students make a difference in their communities – all while taking a hands-on approach to learning about business and entrepreneurship.

On Saturday, May 2, the university hosted the final competition for the fourth annual IC Change Challenge (ICC Challenge) where 60 local high school students pitched a social enterprise they have been developing over the past year.

“It amazes me how bright and hard-working these students are,” says Danial Khan, a third-year Communications and Minor in Business student, and president of Enactus Carleton.

Enactus is an international student-run organization that engages young people to help their communities through entrepreneurship . Four years ago, students in the Carleton Chapter of Enactus developed the ICC Challenge as a community development project. Enactus Carleton runs the successful program every year.

ICC Challenge takes place from September to April, when high school students work on their social enterprise projects.

Khan says that the high school students work with mentors and participate in workshops facilitated by Carleton students, that feature relevant topics for business and entrepreneurship – including marketing and branding.

“The reason we created the ICC Challenge is we find there’s a gap in business learning,” Khan says. “A lot of times, high schools are focused on arts, sciences and math – but not business and entrepreneurship. We created this program so we can enrich (students’) lives by giving them an opportunity to do something hands-on and create change in their communities.”

When Khan was a high school student in Dunrobin, Ont., he personally participated in the challenge – which led him to study at Carleton and sharing his passion for entrepreneurship and community engagement with others.

His project – called Seniors Connect – brought computers to seniors’ centres. As part of the project, seniors were paired with volunteers who set up email and social media accounts to help them connect with their families.

The project still exists, Khan adds, and is run by his former high school.

“It’s grown beyond what we initially planned,” he says, adding that being part of the ICC Challenge has changed his life. “When I joined this project, it opened my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship. It taught me how to be an entrepreneur and it has shaped who I am today.”

The competition’s winners were students from Longfields-Davidson High School with a project that donated food and money to the Barrhaven Food Cupboard.

Team member Mouad Afif, a Grade 11 student, says the group chose to work with an organization that impacted the community near their school.

“We supported them because they were very local and they support people we see on a regular basis,” Afif says.

He and teammate Dean Zaibak, a Grade 10 student, say they felt honoured their team won the competition.

“Our team had so much passion, and so many people who dedicated a lot of time,” Afif says. “We feel proud of what we did this year.”

Zaibak says he got involved because he’s interested in business and hands-on learning.

“This gives me the opportunity to learn and experience what’s happening in the business world. And, I’m really happy we got to work with the Barrhaven Food Cupboard,” he says.

Afif adds that he joined because he wanted to get business experience and give back to the community.

Khan says all the students who were involved have gone above and beyond.

“They all have bright futures ahead of them, and I look forward to seeing what they do in the future,” he says. “I hope they keep moving forward, and one day become entrepreneurs.”

Story by: Kristy Strauss (Originally published in the Carleton Newsroom.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 in , ,
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