The recently concluded Enactus World Cup, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa has again left me with a strong sense of purpose and wonderment. This being my fifth World Cup participating as a Judge, I am encouraged to continue to be associated with this wonderful organisation. Quite apart from the great location, excellent facilities, and smooth organization (congratulations South Africa!); the energy of the students, fascinating projects, and the impactful outcomes for their target communities was just as intoxicating as the very first World Cup I had attended.
This is the sense of purpose and wonderment I speak of. The experience just reinforces my view that everyone who attended/participated has benefitted. Most certainly the teams who competed; and in my opinion it’s not so much about the competition that matters but the experience for the students. How often would students be standing in front of over 3,000 people showcasing their work to not only peers but to some very senior CEOs?
Sure, competition encourages and drives perfection, pride and a desire to win, but the journey to get to the World Cup and all the hard work — business planning, executing to plan, funding, overcoming challenges, learnings, refining models and ensuring impactful outcomes and sustainability — far outweighs the importance of winning.
Now what makes for a truly successful Enactus project? For me, I would prefer to see a project that is close to home. If we can help the marginalised and needy communities in our homeland benefit from an Enactus project; that would be great. Or if the project creates a wider impact to society at large, even better. It would be an entrepreneurial project that is able to make a positive impact to as many people as possible, yet benefit the target beneficiary group that the Enactus team is working with. And the acid test is the ability to scale and be sustainable as a business long after the Enactus team and their successors have handed over the project to their target beneficiaries.
In Singapore, we have come close to this measure of success in the past. And only passion, belief and commitment will see a project through to long term success.
Mr Gerard Chai is Managing Director of Korn Ferry’s Singapore office, and serves as the Chairman on Enactus Singapore.