Agriculture student competing for award in New York

University of Manitoba student Brett Sheffield made it to the final round of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competition in New York City on Nov. 16.

Sheffield, a student in the faculty of agriculture, progressed to the New York competition after taking first place in the Student Entrepreneur National Competition, which is held yearly by the Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) organization.

In New York, Sheffield competed against 30 other student entrepreneurs from around the world. As the owner of Sheffield farms and Stay Fit Health Club, Sheffield is often noted for his commitment to sustainable business practices and ambitious expansions.

A statement released by ACE president Nicole Almond stated, “Our national judges were incredibly impressed by Brett’s determination to build sustainable businesses that have potential for growth.”

“Brett embodies Canada’s entrepreneurial spirit. We are very proud of his success at home and on the international stage.”

ACE is a charitable organization that aims to promote and advance entrepreneurship among young Canadians. Its two main programs are the annual competition, which Sheffield won, and the Enactus program.

According to Almond, “ACE’s flagship program is Enactus, which enables progress through entrepreneurial action. Participating students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.”
National entrepreneur competitions, “provide a forum for Enactus teams to present the results of their projects.”

The U of M was not registered as an “enrolled school” with ACE in the spring of 2012, when Brett won the annual national championship, thereby securing his place in the global finals.

“It was actually Brett who was introduced to ACE and then went back to the University of Manitoba and initiated an Enactus program,” explained Almond. “He saw the impact teams across the country were having on their communities and he wanted the University of Manitoba to be involved in this powerful network.”

As of this year, the U of M has become an enrolled institution with ACE.

Sheffield is the first Manitoban to ever represent Canada at the GSEAs. Only once has a Canadian won first place. According to Almond, that was in 2009 when Milun Tesovic won the competition – Tesovic created the website MetroLyrics, which was eventually sold to CBS.

“Student entrepreneurs face challenges that other entrepreneurs do not, but they also have some extra resources. On most campuses there are professors who are more than happy to share their expertise. Student entrepreneurs spend their time in school surrounded by potential mentors and they ought to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Almond encouraged all student entrepreneurs to register for the next Student Entrepreneur National Competition, held at ACE’s 2013 National Exposition in Toronto from May 6 to 8. Registration remains open on ACE’s official website until Nov. 23.