To address the need for fresh affordable produce, students at Memorial created an affordable hydroponic system for NL homes that also creates jobs and opportunities for the community.
The Sucseed program is a social enterprise partnership operating between Enactus Memorial and Choices for Youth, a nonprofit, charitable, community-based agency that provides housing and lifestyle development supports to youth in the St. John’s metro area.
“There are essentially two parts to Sucseed: product and an opportunity,” says Adam Smith at CFY. “The product is a hydroponic system for in-house use that will allow the owner to grow and access fresh produce all year round while simultaneously lowering household food costs.
“The opportunity is job creation for at-risk young people to build the hydroponic units. Their workplace is a supportive environment directly within Choices for Youth that will help participants learn employable skills, earn supplemental income, build a resume, and gain the confidence to be successful both professionally and personally.”
The boxes are small enough to operate without a hassle, they cost less then $2 a week to operate, and they can grow anything from strawberries to lettuce to bell peppers.
“The program currently employs six young people who each work six hours per week, and each youth is compensated with hourly wages for their work,” says Smith.
“Production for the hydroponic units has been at a steady pace, with approximately 40 units completed to-date and another 40 awaiting final touches to be ready for distribution. The team has been making great strides and has been gaining transferable employment skills, and the young people can also avail of other CFY services and connections if necessary.”
Though they’re a non-profit, student-run organization that operates out of Memorial University, Enactus Memorial has already had a taste of success. “We are a team of 61 student volunteers that have dedicated over 11,000 hours this year to improving social, environmental and economic aspects within our province and across Canada,” says Emily Bland, president of the Memorial chapter of the global organization.
“This year, we ran 13 projects that helped over 2,000 people, started 91 business that created 193 jobs, and generated over 2.5 million dollars in revenue.”
“Enactus Memorial has been named the national champion 8 out of the past 11 years, and in 2008 we were named world champions,” says Bland. “We competed against 54 other teams across Canada to be named the national champion,” says Bland. “This win gives the team the opportunity to compete at the world cup in Toronto this September.”
Nationally and internationally, Sucseed is building a solid pedigree, as it was also selected as the overall top national project partnership in the BDC Entrepreneurs First Project Partnership. It was also awarded $20,000 by McCain Atlantic Canada Social Enterprise Project Partnership to improve programming and expand the project across New Brunswick, as well.