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SIFE: Students In Free Enterprise

Are you interested in leadership? Let’s start a SIFE team at Medicine Hat College!  The Entrepreneur Development Centre has scheduled an exploratory meeting for Friday, February 4th from noon until 1 p.m. in Room F1037.  If you’re interested in this amazing leadership opportunity, RSVP to Jon Sookocheff.                

About SIFE

Founded in 1975, Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) has grown to become one of the largest tertiary-based organizations in the world. There are currently over 48,000 students involved on more than 1,500 SIFE teams in 39 countries. You can always visit www.sife.org to find a complete list of the countries that operate a SIFE program as well as the institutions enrolled. In Canada, the SIFE Program is operated by Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE). Working together as a team, and through the mentorship of a faculty advisor(s), SIFE students apply their classroom experiences to develop and implement educational outreach programs that improve the quality of life and standard of living of people in need. The challenge to SIFE teams is not simply to inform, but to empower – to help their targeted audiences reach their full potential through a better understanding of the principles of free enterprise. Individually, SIFE teams are improving the quality of life and standard of living for members of their communities. Collectively, the focused effort of hundreds of SIFE teams and the thousands of faculty, students, and supporting community leaders driving these teams, have created a positive and sweeping force for change that impacts the lives of millions. Watch this video for more information.

The Individual SIFE Team

SIFE teams are organized by individual tertiary institutions, with a single team per each degree-granting institution. There are intentionally very few rules or procedures established by the SIFE World Headquarters and the ACE National Office for how these teams are organized and structured. Some teams will have one faculty advisor and others will have several; some teams will have a large number of student participants and others will have a small number; some teams will establish eligibility requirements for membership on the team and others will offer membership to any interested student; some teams will have a very complex organizational structure with multiple officer positions and others will have a very flat structure; some teams will have arranged for SIFE students to receive academic credit and others have not, etc. Every institution is unique as is the community it serves, thus the program flexibility in organization allows each institution to organize and structure its SIFE team in a manner that best fits its faculty, student and community needs. This same flexibility applies to each team’s educational efforts. The only limitations that SIFE World Headquarters and ACE National Office places on project activity is that teams educational programs should be designed to fulfil the SIFE Judging Criterion: Considering the relevant economic, social and environmental factors, which SIFE team most effectively empowered people in need by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living. Beyond this, questions as to how many projects teams choose to do, which audiences they target their outreach efforts, whether they design original educational material or use pre-designed material, etc., are all left to the discretion of each team.

The Competition

The academic year ends with the SIFE Competition. This process provides teams with the opportunity to present their educational outreach efforts to a panel of judges, usually business leaders, who evaluate those efforts and determine which teams had the most impact improving the quality of life and standard of living for members of their community. This competitive process creates a “best-practice” sharing environment and fosters a healthy spirit of competition, which drives and rewards excellence. In Canada, teams compete in both the Regional and National Competitions. From these competitions, one institution will be named the national champion and advance to compete at the SIFE World Cup. The 2010 ACE National Competition will be held in Toronto from May 9-11, 2011 with the SIFE World Cup taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from October 3-5, 2011.

The SIFE Experience

Through this model, SIFE is empowering university students to make a difference today while realizing the full potential they have to create a better world as the entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow. As these students succeed in helping others, a powerful and lasting transformation takes place within them. They develop sharpened leadership and business skills, but just as importantly, they form a deeper sense of commitment to the community and world around them - and their knowledge of just how far-reaching their influence as leaders can be. SIFE sets the stage for life-changing business leadership experiences that are equipping the new generation of leaders with knowledge and skills to develop more sustainable enterprises, stronger communities and a world with greater opportunities for everyone.