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Sixth time's a charm

By Moira Finn | May 10, 2012

Lauded for the grassroots impact of its community outreach projects, SIFE Memorial has won the 2012 Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) National Championships in Calgary, Alta., defeating 50 teams from universities across Canada.

It is the sixth time in seven years that SIFE Memorial has taken top honours in the prestigious student business competition. The team now advances to represent Canada at the 2012 SIFE World Cup in Washington, D.C. in September, where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will welcome delegates.

After three days of presentations and competing against more than 700 of the country’s brightest university and college students, SIFE Memorial was the overall competition winner outshining St. Lawrence College, Ryerson University, Saint Mary’s University and Okanagan College in the final round on May 9.

A 50-person judging panel comprised of top Canadian CEOs including Norm Mross, president, Trico Homes; Robert Sartor, chief executive officer, Big Rock Brewery Inc.; and Phillip Donne, president, Campbell Company of Canada, heard dozens of presentations during the three-day event. SIFE Memorial emerged victorious because the team’s entrepreneurial programs genuinely benefit people in the community, the judges said.

Among the initiatives the SIFE Memorial team presented were entrepreneurial projects helping military personnel, persons with disabilities and people earning a living from collecting recyclables.

Through 22,137 volunteer hours working on these and 10 other projects, SIFE Memorial estimates it has had an economic impact in excess of $2 million, created 47 jobs and affected the lives of 4,729 people.

“We could not be prouder to represent our country and tell these stories to an international audience,” said Danielle Seward, SIFE Memorial vice-president and who is graduating with a joint bachelor of commerce and bachelor of arts degree this month. “The support of the university and the Faculty of Business Administration has been a real asset in helping our team to apply what we learn in university to help our community, the province and the country.”

“The SIFE Memorial team immensely improved the quality of life for those in need with their empowering projects, and effectively changed the landscape of their community,” said Amy Harder, president of Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE), which operates the SIFE program. “We are eager to see Memorial compete at the international SIFE World Cup competition this fall.”

The SIFE program and ACE organization provide university and college students access to real world experience, through the implementation of economic outreach projects that complement in-class studies.