Students in Free Enterprise Advance to Nationals

by Nina Karim

Congratulations to the SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) Team at APU who made it to nationals! Recently winning the regional competition in Los Angeles, they will advance to compete at nationals on May 10 in Philadelphia.

SIFE is an international organization that empowers university students around the world to make a difference in their communities while developing skills to become socially responsible business leaders. More than 30,000 students participate in the program representing 1,500 universities in more than 45 countries. Leading companies around the world support the community outreach projects that students develop within the teams that they have formed on their university campuses.

SIFE teams work with a faculty advisor and business advisory board to develop unique projects that apply business principles in addressing the different needs of people in communities around the world. In a culmination of their efforts, the teams present their results at competitions where business leaders evaluate the project impact and how they have helped others succeed.

APU’s team emerged as a SIFE USA Regional Champion in the overall competition after presenting a report on their year-long community outreach projects to a panel of business leaders. The 10 students under the direction of Dan Kipley, DBA, also received the Environmental Sustainability Topic Competition Award for work completed at APU with Toney Snyder, assistant director for environmental stewardship.

“SIFE is really about giving back to the community through the utilization of our gifts, talents, and passion for business,” said SIFE vice president David Parsons.

Individual groups are formed in the Strategic Management class and the criteria that the groups must follow under SIFE include market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, business ethics, sustainability, and environmental sustainability. The different project groups are individually rated according to the criteria, but each work toward a different goal. Projects Pinwheel, Growth, Graduate, Vodcasts, Credit 201, and Green have goals ranging from teaching first graders basic business principles (Growth) to informing university students about how their credit score works (Credit 201). These projects are year-long and the finale is a celebration of the community impact.

“I truly believe the success of the team came from the synergy created by the different dynamics and personalities of each person,” said James Bezjian, senior <a href"/business/programs/international-business-major/">international business major and vice president of SIFE. “The team members are truly remarkable individuals and it was a blessing to be included with such great people.”

This unique program is an opportunity that enables students to apply academic knowledge in a real world business environment. The APU SIFE team members share a passion for helping others achieve success, and through this program they are experiencing unique rewards of using their business skills to create a better world.