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'Anticipating Immense Potential From Indian Market And Its Future Leaders' - Rachael Jarosh, President & CEO, Enactus

Rachael Jarosh, President & CEO, Enactus on her second visit to India in an interview with BW Businessworld states the importance of strengthening their programs along with developing the community of student, academic and business leaders

With over 72,000 student members annually and 550 corporate organizational and individual partners including KPMG, Wal-Mart, Mahindra, Unilever, and Tata, Enactus works towards shaping the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Rachael Jarosh, President  & CEO, Enactus on her second visit to India in an interview with BW Businessworld states the importance of strengthening their programs along with developing the community of student, academic and business leaders. 

You have been with Enactus since 2016, what are the contributions you have brought to the organization and to the education industry worldwide?

My first priority was to understand what our impact was and until that time we didn't even have a data set that could determine the impact we made for our partners and students. We piloted a global program last year to survey students in 11 countries which saw around 5000 participants. The students were selected on the basis of the skills they gained, leadership confidence and the resilience they exhibit. We could then figure out the difference between an Enactus student and a non-Enactus student. The second most important task at hand was to strengthen the programme.   According to the USA program, which was the first country where we performed a survey, when a student graduates he/she is likely to outperform their peers 3 times on benchmarks that indicate a successful career 10 years down the line. That gave us the opportunity to bring in our corporate partners along with their mentorship, expertise, and capabilities all in place for our students. This not only provides a big exposure for our students but also helps corporates understand the importance of mentorship as part of a development of their employees. 

The Indian national competition hosted by Enactus took place in Mumbai on July 12th, 2018. What are the learnings that the participants and corporates could take from here?

For India, in particular, which is one of our highest priority markets, what I was most impressed with is that our final 4 teams really understood how business could drive social change. We believe that fundamentally it is true that businesses could drive social change in the community on a local and national level. It is my job and Enactus' role to understand how can students become sustainable contributors to the new India that is addressing social issues in new and innovative ways. 

What does social entrepreneurship mean to you?

At the end of the day, Social Entrepreneurship is about how do you build a business that contributes to the community and society at large. It comprises of 3 strong elements: People, Planet and Profit. Those are the elements of a strong social enterprise and we're trying to embed those principles in our students and understand what the impact is in each area. Without profits and without a sustainable business model, nothing would work and which is why we embed business knowledge first. But then understanding its long-term impact on the planet and the people is most important to distinguish between our social entrepreneur and social enterprises. 

While Enactus was spreading its roots across various countries, what were the loopholes or challenges you came across in order to enhance your learning programs?

In every country, our impact is different from one another and that works as a strength for Enactus because we as an international organization don't dictate how a country runs its operations. We establish program & impact standards and we leave them to be responsive enough for the market. 

In India, I concentrated on growth and strengthening our programs because this going to be the youngest nation in the world by the year 2020. It is also the strongest emerging economy, especially after they have surpassed France. It is very important to me that we are helping the community with respect to employment opportunities as well for the youth of tomorrow. We believe that the students in India who have enrolled for our programs will emerge as the new leaders of the country.

With India being the major focus area for Enactus, what does Enactus have to offer to the corporate partners in this country?

The donors from India will be supporting the programs in this country and so the growth potential here is remarkable. We intend to grow substantially and today we have 98 universities focused in India with over 3,600 students and we would like to double that very quickly. We believe that partnering with like-minded corporates it would be way easier for us. But more importantly, we can create opportunities for them to turn on their investments not just on students but also through their employment engagement through us. Mentorship is a big part of our program and encourages employees to perform better. We not only bring social impact to our corporate partners but also community impact through our education program and they bring us the financial resources along with the commitment of their employees to help accelerate the growth of our students. It is a win-win-win situation for the community, the current generation of leaders and the future generation of leaders as well. 

One of the most known projects to create a sustainable environment and economy is the 'World Water Race'. Could you elaborate on how this project is an accurate example set out by Enactus?

‘World Water Race' is a great example where a large number of our corporate partners are interested in tackling issues around sustainability. Tackling the global problem of water, even though it is a local challenge, we developed a program for all our students globally to think about issues related to water in their areas and to compete on providing the best solutions related to the specifics of that challenge. This program runs alongside our regular programs and this year we have seen 110 teams from 29 different countries who have entered and the winners would participate in the World Cup hosted in the Silicon Valley in the USA. We have witnessed many teams from India taking part in the finals this year, October 9th, 2018 to October 11th, 2018 at San Jose, California with a winning prize of 20,000 US Dollars. This event happens every year and has historically moved from country to country and I hope to bring it to India in the next 3-5 years. 

Where would you see Enactus in India and globally by the year 2020?

By 2020, I'd like to see a few key measures taken by us. First one is the impact data on our students and we'd like to benchmark and enhance our data by two times this year. Both skills and leadership behavior & traits are very important to me. But equally, I'd like to see an increasing number of teams and countries participating to double their community impact. I think that is entirely feasible and there is a huge growth opportunity for us and if we can increase the number of students, connect them and scale the number of projects I believe that the impact in the world and in India would be exponential in 5 years. Our goal is to find better innovative solutions that can impact multiple markets and businesses to grow on a global level. The other important target for us in the future is to also see our alumni growth engagement and bring more mentors on board through alumni engagement as well.


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