The Launch of Subject Matter Expert (SME) Mentoring

The Enactus UK Alumni Mentoring programme is a cornerstone of what we do as Alumni – supporting Enactus UK teams across the country in their development of enterprises to empower communities across the globe. This year, we have 88 mentors who generously give their time, skills and expertise to the mentoring programme, and we’re extremely excited to watch this number grow into the future.

In order to support the future growth of the programme and to ensure we’re maximising the value added to the teams, we’re proud to announce some major updates to the Enactus UK Alumni Mentoring Programme. Mainly, the creation of a new type of mentoring: Subject Matter Expert (SME) Mentoring.

We’re now giving mentors, both new and old, the opportunity to sign up as an expert in a specific area. That way, when any Enactus teams needs mentoring for a specific subject rather than just general mentoring, we’ll link up the SME mentor and the team. Not only do we see this maximising the value for both the teams and the mentors, but as a way to recognise the insane knowledge and expertise our community of alumni.

Signing up to be an SME mentor is easy, and takes only a couple of minutes. The application form is here.

Why I Love National Competition – Ranj

To those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ranj and I’m the Vice Chair of the Enactus UK Alumni. My Enactus journey started back in 2008 (yes, I’m old) and since then, I’ve worn a couple of different Enactus hats – from project member and team leader at Enactus Warwick to Enactus UK staff, Alumni Mentor and Alumni Board Member. This is my eighth year of being involved in the Enactus UK network (like a bad cold, I refuse to go away), and one thing that hasn’t changed in all this time is just how much I love the Enactus UK National Competition.

I am not a morning person (never have been, never will be) but there are 3 days in the year that I will bound out of bed – Christmas, my birthday and (yes, you guessed it, you clever thing), Nationals. But “why?!” I hear you ask, “just what is so great about this whole Nationals thing?!”. Well my friends, read on and I will tell you just what Nationals is all about.

A celebration of awesomeness. Nationals is the pinnacle of the Enactus year, the culmination of all your work, a celebration that you took action to make an impact. Whether you got knocked out at Regionals or you make it all the way to World Cup, you made a choice this year to try to make an impact. You saw a problem and did something about it, so celebrate that. Celebrate your team, your projects, your initiative, your work and your commitment to the cause.

An opportunity to learn. I know that human trafficking increases when a country hosts the Olympics, that burning a kerosene lamp for a night is equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes and that 60% of the Indian population do not have access to toilets. I also know that orange peel is an anti-malarial, that waste avocado can be turned into soap and that gravity lights are the new solar lamps. I know these things because I learn them watching presentations at Nationals. Nationals is an opportunity to learn about global issues, the needs around you & innovative solutions so watch as many presentations as you can.

Get Inspired. It never fails to amaze me how Enactus students spot opportunities and create solutions. It fills me with hope that there’s an entire community of students who dedicate time and energy to tackling challenges and empowering people. I believe that anyone has the power to do incredible things if they take action, and Nationals is a testament to this – asides the presentations, you can also find out more at the Project Fair and even see some of the products that beneficiaries have made. Be sure to check it out – I leave more inspired every year!

Connect. The atmosphere at Nationals is just incredible – put all those amazing students in one place, throw in alumni, business advisors, university advisors and Enactus UK, and you’ve got a venue full of likeminded people. Nationals issuch a great place to meet students that care about the same things as you, talk to sponsors who can open up career opportunities and talk to alumni who can tell you about Enactus after University. Make sure you take the opportunity to meet people – you never know whose going to turn out to impact your Enactus journey.

I hope you guys are as excited for Nationals as I am. It comes but once a year, and I promise you, it’s worth the wait. I’ll be there so please do come say hi if you want to find out more about the Alumni network, and remember to have fun.

 

Project Den what to expect as a student (Part 2)

The Enactus network provides plenty of opportunities for alumni and students to connect allowing students to leverage the vast expertise of the alumni, and for alumni to have the opportunity to give back to the network. Project Den is a fantastic example of this.

Project Den is an event where teams can present their projects to alumni mentors outside their usual support network, and will receive friendly, constructive advice on how the project can be improved and how to move it forward. This allows mentors to use their Enactus knowledge in a new context.

For those who have not attended a Project Den before, we’ve put together a handy guide of what to expect.

1.     You’ll gain a new perspective

It’s likely that you’ll be receiving advice from someone who has no prior knowledge of your project. This can be really beneficial, as they’ll be able to provide a unique perspective and bring fresh ideas.

2.     You’ll receive some honest advice

There may be parts of your project that can be improved or changed to make a greater impact, and the Alumni won’t hesitate to point these out to you. It’s important that you keep an open mind, remember they won’t have prior knowledge of your project. If you have made a different decision for a reason, be sure to explain this to them to help them understood the direction you’re taking the project in.

3.     You have access to the wealth of knowledge of the alumni

The advantage of gaining advice from outside of your usual support network is the breadth of knowledge the alumni can provide. Although the alumni taking part have come from a variety of teams and roles, all of them have been in your shoes, so know the types of challenges you face. They also have the advantage of their graduate jobs to build on their Enactus knowledge.

4.     You’ll learn about some pretty cool project tools

The alumni make sure they stay up to date with the latest project tools, and we’ll be sharing some of these at Project Den. These will help you plan your project more effectively to help you maximise your impact.

5.     You’ll have a lot of fun

It may seem daunting to open up your project to outside advice, but ultimately it’s also a lot of fun. You’ll spend time talking to people who are just as excited and passionate about your project as you are, and if you come along in person you’ll also get to meet lots of new people. Project Den is a great way to experience the scale of the Enactus UK network.

The notorious Grantham bathroom photo

There’s a strange tradition that happens every year at Grantham. It’s never planned, but at a certain point on the Saturday night, after several glasses of wine, alumni gather outside of the disabled toilet one by one, and take a photo which has since become legend.

So naturally, we decided to do our own Timehop and trace this tradition to its origins. Only a small amount of stalking was required to unearth these treasures, we promise.

2009 – the beginning?

Okay, so it’s not technically the disabled toilet, but it’s a group toilet photo – close enough! We can’t decide what’s better about this photo, how young everyone looks, or the fact they came up with the idea that started the tradition we know and love today.

2010 – The year with no flash

This bunch obviously made the discovery that more people would fit into the disabled toilet, but for some reason they couldn’t discover where the camera flash was. Nevertheless, a strong effort!

2011 – The year with no cameras?

Either 2011 was a wild year and all evidence was deleted, or the famed encounter didn’t happen this year. Alumni – where is this photo? (we’ve decided to draw how we think it looked instead)

2012 – The one with Rosie

Let’s not beat around the bush here. This photo involved Rosie, so it’s automatically the best one. Competition over guys.

2013 – The attractive one

We’re all such an attractive bunch aren’t we? What makes this even funnier is the amount it was used in Alumni communications. Great effort all round!

2014 – The one without Jonny

We’re not entirely sure this one counts. Why, you ask? Because Mr Hick is suspiciously absent. It turns out Jonny was enjoying his dinner conversation so much that the photo went on without him. Shame on you all!

2015 - ???

And so you have it. Here’s this year’s solid effort. Let’s hope that we continue this tradition long into the future.

Which year is your favourite? Tweet @EnactusUKAlumni and let us know!

Grantham 2015 – What to expect #TW2015

It’s finally November! That may not mean anything to most, but for Enactus students and alumni it means it’s nearly time for Grantham.

Grantham, or the Enactus UK Training Weekend, is an action packed weekend full of training sessions, team building activities and the occasional drink. Before the big weekend, we wanted to give you a few hints of what to expect.

FRIDAY - Development Centre, Icebreakers and Bonfire

Once you’ve been dropped off at PGL by the Grantham coaches your weekend will begin! After registering for the weekend, you’ll receive your itinerary and accommodation keys.

If you pre-registered for the Development Centre, you’ll then begin this part of the weekend. The Development Centre will help prepare you for graduate and placement assessment centres and interviews, and will give you a chance to apply the skills you’ve gained through Enactus with a real recruiter.

Once you’ve had time to settle in, the careers fair will start. This will give you the chance to speak to our sponsor companies, who are actively looking to recruit Enactus students. Look out for some familiar faces on the stands as some of our lovely alumni will be representing their companies!  

 

Enactus UK will then kick off the weekend with some inspiring talks and icebreakers. Here you will get to know your fellow Enactus students a bit better, find out what’s in store for you during the weekend and be inspired by some best practice in the network. You’ll also enjoy your first Grantham dinner – it’s cheap but cheerful – just like school dinners!

 

The best part of Friday (or at least our favourite) is the bonfire. Expect some casual drinks by the bonfire and a chance to socialise more with everyone attending Training Weekend. Pro tip: Find Jeffery Lovejoy for a chat – he has many Training Weekends under his belt and is a very entertaining person to meet!

SATURDAY – PGL Activities, Sessions and Dinner

It’s an early start on Saturday – be sure to wake up in time for breakfast as you have a long day ahead of you. Depending on which track you’re on, you’ll have a different running order, but don’t worry you’ll all get to experience the same things.

Some of you will begin your day with PGL, taking part in outdoor activities. You could be doing anything, from zipwiring, to climbing, to trying not to touch the floor. In all the activities you’ll have to have solid teamwork and trust to achieve your objective!

You’ll also spend your Saturday attending sessions ran by the alumni, sponsor companies and social enterprise experts covering everything from working with project partners, to applying for grants to building your Enactus brand. Be sure to take lots of notes and participate fully in the sessions. It’s a great way of learning new things you can bring back to your team to help improve your projects and build a team that’s sustainable in the long term.

Everyone’s Grantham highlight is the Saturday night dinner. You’re back in the canteen but it’s been spruced up and everyone’s dressed to impress. You’re treated to a three course meal (although it’s still your cheery canteen food) and wine, and get to spend some time bonding with your teammates.

At dinner, you’ll hear from Enactus UK and the dinner sponsor, and will be treated to a replay of the UK’s world cup entry (this year you’ll get to watch the World Champion Enactus Southampton present their winning entry!). There will also be some other representatives so expect a lot of clapping (and probably some crying too if you’re part of the alumni and fully into your Enactus addiction)

Saturday closes with a disco – think school disco. It’s a great way to bond with other Enactus teams so make sure you have a good time! Expect lots of cheesy hits and some terrible singing (and that’s just the alumni!).

 

 

SUNDAY – PGL Activities, the Photo, Application of Knowledge and Goodbyes

There’s more outdoor activities on Sunday morning, so don’t be surprised if you end up on a zip wire in the early hours of the morning with a hangover (That definitely happened to me before – just saying!)

Be sure to make the most of this as it’ll be your last activities session of Training Weekend, so mingle with people you haven’t met before and give it your all – you might surprise yourself on the Leap of Faith!

We’ll then move onto the traditional Grantham picture – don’t miss your chance to be in it! Be sure to be outside at the right time to secure a good spot. Top tip: position yourself near something recognisable so you can find yourself in the picture later!

Then it’ll be time to regroup with your regions and plan out how you’ll use what you’ve learned to benefit your team. And that’s it, your time at Training Weekend will unfortunately be over for another year.

So how can you make the most of your Training Weekend?

  • Talk to as many people as you can. Your peers can be an amazing support network. Be sure to swap contact details!
  •  Try and seek out your alumni mentor if you know they’re attending. This will help you relate what you’ve learned to the challenges your team is facing.
  • Take notes on everything you hear. It’ll be easy to forget the details once you’ve left.
  • Participate fully. If you put a lot in, you’ll get a lot out of it!
  • Pay a visit to the Alumni tuck shop. You’ll be able to find Red Bull and a sugar hit, and all the money will go into funding the important work the Alumni do!

Want to know more about what to expect? Watch last year’s highlights here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PSo3zPyz6s

Finally, look out for the alumni and say hi! We’ll be wearing our Enactus UK Alumni hoodies with pride and love to meet Enactus students.




Project Den 2015 – What to Expect as a Mentor (Part 1)

The Enactus network provides plenty of opportunities for alumni and students to connect allowing students to leverage the vast expertise of the alumni, and for alumni to have the opportunity to give back to the network. Project Den is a fantastic example of this.

Project Den is an event where teams can present their projects to alumni mentors outside their usual support network, and will receive friendly, constructive advice on how the project can be improved and how to move it forward. This allows mentors to use their Enactus knowledge in a new context.

For those who have not attended a Project Den before, we’ve put together a handy guide of what to expect.

 

 

1.     There will be lots of energy and ideas

Projects are a very exciting area of Enactus, so having an event purely focused on developing projects tends to bring out high energy levels. Teams are open to hearing advice on their projects, and the best Project Den discussions tend to generate creative ideas on how to solve problems.

2.     You will gain a new perspective

Teams approach their projects differently, so during Project Den you’ll be exposed to new ways of working. On the surface, Project Den is a one-way learning process, where teams learn from alumni, but in reality, there’s so much alumni can learn from these teams whether it’s a learning they can take back to their own teams or something which adds to their Enactus knowledge.

3.     You will be challenged

Projects are never smooth sailing and complex challenges can arise. You’ll be asked very challenging questions by some teams which you may not be able to answer straight away. However, by sharing your experience and how you would approach a particular problem, you will still be able to provide support and advice.

4.     There will be a chance to mingle

At each of our 5 Project Den locations we’ll be organising a social activity after the event for you to mingle with your fellow alumni – take advantage of this to get to know each other better and catch up with friends.

5.     You’ll have a lot of fun

The most fun part of Enactus is being close to the action, and Project Den promises that. Whilst it will be a tiring day you’ll also have a great day full of useful conversations that will remind you why you still spend so much of your time on Enactus!

Sign up to take part in Project Den here. The deadline for registrations is the 1st November.

Have you been to Project Den before and what to share your highlights from previous years? Share your stories with us at @EnactusUKAlumni

The Mentoring Team

5 ways to learn from the Enactus World Cup Final

World cup is an exciting time for Enactus teams, but you don’t have to be in Johannesburg to make the most of it.

Whether you’re a mentor on the lookout for new ways to inspire your team, or a student wanting to learn from the world’s greatest Enactus projects, World Cup offers plenty of opportunities to expose yourself to best practice and hear how other countries have empowered people in need.

We’ve compiled a list of our top tips to help you maximise your viewing experience

1.       Get a group together to watch it

As well as being a lot of fun, watching the world cup final as a group enables some really beneficial discussions. You can discuss the team’s presentation style, how they’ve approached the project’s need, the sustainability of their project, how you think they should scale the project or how effectively it meets the criterion. Try introducing a competitive element by predicting who you think will win the grand prize.

2.       Do your research

Get to know the teams ahead of the competition by browsing the world cup website and viewing the country profiles. Here you can find a sneak peek of the projects being presented. See if you can find a project that similar to one from your project portfolio and follow the progress of that team through the competition online.

 

3.       Write down the key take away from each presentation

Write down at least one thing you’re going to take away from each presentation. Did you find the way they presented their impact really clear? Were you inspired by the business model they used to implement the project? What can you learn from their presentation? In the presentation changeover times share your learnings with the team and discuss what your team can do as a result.

4.       Follow along using the criterion

Create marking sheets for everyone attending your viewing. During each presentation ask everyone to judge where they think the team have scored according to the criterion. At the end of the presentation give suggestions for how the presenting team can improve their scores further.

5.       Get social

The Enactus World Cup has a buzzing social media presence, and joining in with this can really enhance your competition experience. Be sure to wish Enactus Southampton good luck, but also take time to review the conversations happening on #WeAllWin and #EnactusWorldCup and join in. You never know – you may be exposed to a new perspective from the global Enactus network.

What are your top tips? Tweet @EnactusUKAlumni with your suggestions and we’ll share our favourites.

The Enactus World Cup Final Round will be broadcasted live at http://enactus.org/worldcup/ on Friday 16th October 2pm-5.30pm GMT or you’ll be able to find it on demand on YouTube.

Good luck to Enactus Southampton on behalf of all the Enactus UK Alumni Mentoring Team!! We’ll be cheering for you.

Introducing your 2015-2016 Mentoring Team

Here at the Enactus UK Alumni we’re passionate about supporting teams to create amazing projects and impact. Mentoring is a key way for us to do this and we have plenty of activities taking place this year to make our mentoring even better.

Here’s our new team :

Leanne Dodson

Head of Mentoring (Student)

Bethan Rimmington

Mentoring Events Lead

Hannah Page

Head of Mentoring (Alumni)

11824923_10207317263278305_1221072066044726129_n.jpg

Hi I’m Kelly and I’ll be the Mentoring Communications lead this year. This is my second year as an alumni mentor after four years in the Enactus Liverpool team. I’m really excited to combine the lessons I’ve learned from my graduate marketing role with my experience as a mentor, to help drive the programme forward this year.

We will be recruiting into our wider mentoring team this year, so if this is something you’re interested in, please reach out to [email address] to find out more.

We’ve already been busy this year planning out our strategy and vision, and wanted to share this with you to help you understand why we do what we do.

Mission Statement:

Our mission as the Enactus UK Alumni Mentoring Programme is to develop a network of excellent alumni mentors who will increase the capacity, ability and leadership of Enactus students, in order to further build excellent Enactus teams and projects.

Vision:

We have a vision where Enactus UK teams; deliver excellent socially entrepreneurial projects which empower people to improve their livelihoods and change their lives.

We have a vision where Enactus UK student teams become substantial, sustainable and well governed; enabling students to maximise the value of their Enactus experience and create generations of value driven leaders as graduates.

We have a vision where Enactus UK Alumni Mentors have the opportunity to continue their professional and leadership development and grow as value driven leaders. 

Key Strategies:

  • To work positively alongside Enactus UK Programme Managers in a partnership to develop the Enactus teams.
  • To deliver high quality team-wide mentoring and targeted expertise to every Enactus UK team.
  • To lead the development of the Enactus UK Programme through innovation.
  • To deliver excellent training events, sessions, and resources, both online and in-person
  • To train, support and develop alumni mentors to deliver valuable mentoring and training to teams.
  • To support the Enactus UK Alumni Mentors to recognise the value of mentoring in their personal development and fulfilment
  •  Utilise the capabilities of the extended mentoring programme to deliver the Enactus UK Alumni mentoring mission

As you can see, we have set our sights high this year, but we believe if we get these key areas right, then the mentoring programme will develop sustainably in parallel with the UK programme.

In order to achieve our mission, we will need the help of every single alumni mentor this year and the ideas you can bring. Interested? There’s 3 key ways you can do so:

  • Attend the Mentor Training Day on the 11th July to help us develop key areas of the mentor programme
  • Email over any ideas you have to help us further improve the programme to [email address]
  • If you’re passionate about mentoring and want to help us deliver this vision, then apply to join the mentoring team. Click Here!

We look forward to working with you this year!

8 Steps to Crushing Ridiculous Goals

ridiculous

adjective 
1. causing or worthy of ridicule or derision; absurd; preposterous; laughable: “a ridiculous plan.

Think of the most notable entrepreneurs -- the Richard Bransons and the Elon Musks. Do you think there were people that laughed at, questioned and doubted their goals? Of course there were. Without a doubt they had family and friends, as well as complete strangers that thought their ideas were outrageous.

Successful entrepreneurs crush ridiculous goals all the time -- here are eight tips to help you reach even your most lofty goals.

1. Master easy goals first.

You have to learn how to walk before you run, and the same principle applies for goal setting. Reaching any goal, even an easy one, requires self-discipline and a never-give-up attitude. If you can’t knock easy goals out of the park, you can’t expect to accomplish ones that are filled with obstacles and challenges.

Related: A Foolproof Method to Achieving Targets

2. Break ridiculous goals down into several smaller goals.

Your ridiculous goals should be broken down into multiple smaller goals -- this creates a series of goals that appear to be achievable, allowing you to focus on getting every little detail completed. As you accomplish the smaller goals you see the progress first hand. This can give you the confidence to keep pushing through -- and greatly increase the chances of you reaching your end goal.

3. Be prepared to push hard through the finish line.

While working hard may sound painfully obvious, many people aren’t fully aware of the effort it takes to accomplish hefty goals. Look at how many startups raise mullions of dollars in seed funding and then disappear the following year. The founders had the vision and funding -- but they didn’t work hard enough to reach their goals. You could have the best idea and an endless supply of capital, but if you aren’t ready to put in nonstop hard work failure is almost certain.

4. Build a team of specialists around you.

Large goals require teamwork. You can’t wear every hat and expect to do everything -- it just isn’t realistic. The more tasks you start to juggle -- marketing, business development, accounting, human resources, hiring, training, etc. -- the quicker it will all come crashing down. Assemble a team of experts that share your vision and will put 100 percent into their tasks to rise up and reach the goal as a team. When I first started my business I tried to do everything, and it wasn’t until I understood I didn’t know everything that I became better at reaching my goals.

5. Don’t stall or make excuses.

The moment you start to drift off course and make excuses, the harder your goal becomes. Successful entrepreneurs don’t slow down to question themselves and they don’t make excuses. They believe they can accomplish the goal and they never disturb their momentum.

Related: Setting Goals: 3 Steps to Igniting Workplace Engagement

6. Accept that failure is a possibility.

If you, as an entrepreneur, let fear stop you, you wouldn’t be reading this. There wouldn’t be new companies trying to disrupt technology on a daily basis. A successful entrepreneur would rather fall flat on his or her face then ask themselves, “I wonder what would have happened if I tried that?” If you fail, you use it as a valuable lesson and try again.

7. Be prepared and willing to sacrifice.

Accomplishing difficult goals will require sacrifice. Everyone will have different sacrifices to make, which could include sleep, personal time, family time, pay and security. This can be uncomfortable to some, and it will get more uncomfortable as you go deeper in -- but without risk there is no reward. Ask any successful entrepreneur if they have made sacrifices and I guarantee they will tell you they have.

8. Don’t ever quit.

This one doesn’t need any further explanation, so I will leave you with a quote from the great Muhammad Ali.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.