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SIFE Memorial Canadian champions

May 12, 2011

Memorial University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team is going to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October to vie for the SIFE World Cup.

The group – comprised of students from Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration and other faculties and schools – was named the 2011 Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) national champion by national charitable organization Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) and a forty-person panel of judges comprised of top Canadian CEOs in Toronto, Ont., this week.

As well as being crowned national champions, Mike Wahl, owner of Definitions Wellness Safety Services and PhD student at Memorial, took home the 2011 Student Entrepreneur National Champion award and $10,000 cash prize.

“By winning this award, my hope is to not only bring attention to my business accomplishments, but also to Memorial University and the province of Newfoundland,” said Mr. Wahl.

For the past eight years, Mr. Wahl has co-owned and operated Definitions Wellness Safety Services, an industry-leading wellness and safety company that specializes in addressing individual health, safety and wellness concerns for individuals and companies.

ACE is a national, charitable organization that is teaching and igniting young Canadians to create brighter futures for themselves and their communities. ACE delivers a team-based program called Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) and an individual-based program, Student Entrepreneur. ACE students created 600 jobs, logged 250,000 volunteer hours, directly impacted 95,000 people and have generated more than $12 million in economic activity in the past year alone. ACE is currently established on more than 55 post-secondary campuses across Canada.

SIFE Memorial stood victorious because of their dedication to arming Canadian Forces personnel and student entrepreneurs with the tools and assistance needed to thrive as business owners, as well as teaching high school students and seniors vital financial education.

“We are so thrilled and I want to acknowledge our entire team for their dedication to the community and each other this past year,” said Nick Hounsell, SIFE Memorial team leader. “We are so glad to be returning to the SIFE World Cup to represent our school, our province and our country. We hope we do everyone proud!”

One example of the team’s initiatives is Launch Pad – the first and only student business incubator in Canada. In the past year alone, the team has provided office space, mentorship and numerous other resources to 13 young entrepreneurs – with business revenues exceeding $2.2 million. For the SIFE Financial Education Challenge, one of their many projects focused on educating high school students on the topic of personal finance. They worked with more than 390 students at 13 high schools in the St. John’s area and plan to expand the program to reach schools across the province next year.

The purpose of this national initiative is to encourage SIFE teams to assist aspiring entrepreneurs when considering entrepreneurship as a viable career option and to work directly with local businesses to help improve their operations, profitability, creation of jobs, and as a whole, help build a stronger economy.

More than 1,000 delegates, including the country’s brightest university and college students, academic professionals and top Canadian CEOs, took part in this annual gathering that effectively engages generations of leaders around the shared cause of building a better Canada.

The SIFE Memorial national champions will meet student teams from more than 40 countries in Malaysia and compete for the ultimate title of World Cup Champion.