‘Enactus is an international effort to skill and empowers students’
Farhan Pettiwala is the President of Enactus India, an international non-profit organisation spread across 36 countries of students with a focus on community empowerment through outreach
projects and empowering youth globally to apply business and economic concepts (entrepreneurial action) to improve livelihood of people (by skilling them to raise their income and dignity) in a sustainable manner. Enactus brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more
sustainable world. Enactus’ corporate partners include global names like Walmart, KPMG, Unilever, Coca Cola, Cargill, Ford, Hershey and HSBC. Pettiwala has recently received an appreciation letter from the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for his leadership in making Enactus India a vibrant network of young leaders. Buoyant over the prospects of entrepreneurship, he has been a passionate entrepreneur with impeccable expertise in skill development, leadership, Climate Change & sustainability. Prior to Enactus, Pettiwala was associated with the Norfolk Group and United
Technologies Corporation as country head and successfully managed the integration of operations with over 5,000 skilled and semi-skilled members in the team, doing a revenue of $800 million.
How do you think Enactus is shaping students of today?
Enactus skills and empowers students (in both undergraduate and post-graduate colleges) to get a taste of the real world, while they are still in the college. They get to work in teams with well-defined roles, responsibilities and a reporting structure. In addition, they learn and experience aspects like making and executing business plans to get funding for their projects, most importantly getting an opportunity to execute their strategies, which is of immense importance in shaping their personalities and character as they enter the real corporate world. Globally, Enactus has more than 70,000 active student members spread across 1,700 universities worldwide. Enactus India has more than 3000 student participants across more than 97 college campuses across the country which include 3 IIM’s and 4 IIT’s.
What are your plans for India?
We are planning to expand our reach to over 50 corporate partners in India in 2016 from the current 30 partners which include leading companies such as KPMG, Walmart, Cargill, HDFC, HSBC, Mahindra, Coca Cola, Unilever, Tata Group, HP, Syntel, Zensar and others. India today has become a hub of student entrepreneurship especially in community development projects. Enactus has globally partnered with United Nations to support in achieving the 17 SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals), and more than 5,000 projects being done by 70,000 students touch one or more of these 17 Goals (SDG’s). Our effort is to align with the PM’s vision of “Skill India” and “Swacch Bharat”, thereby we are empowering and encouraging young students to take projects to align with the PM’s vision by remaining inclusive (aligning with the slogan — sabkavikas).
How has the outreach of the programme grown over the past few years?
We have seen increase in both the total number of community outreach projects (from 100 to 300 projects in last 4 years) completed by 3,000+ students in 97 college teams, as well as double-digit growth in the total number of volunteer hours invested by students into their projects. Enactus programme staff around the world remained committed to the priority of improving the quality and impact of Enactus teams’ projects through mentoring, more effective training events and greater access to programme resources and tools.
Why is it important for organisations to be involved with Enactus?
When organisations support Enactus, they are helping to develop more effective and socially responsible leaders and entrepreneurial personality traits in young people. This would result in more of them starting their own successful businesses or contributing creatively to corporations as dynamic ‘intrapreneurs’ and even communities by addressing social challenges in a sustainable manner through the use of effective business approaches. Enactus offers a unique form of corporate social responsibility where a business leader or corporate house is helping in mentoring the youth of the country to become Entrepreneurs with a social objective.