Students set to represent the UK in global business championship
Enterprising students from the University of Southampton will be representing the UK in an international competition for business leaders of the future.
A team from Southampton have been named 2011 national champions in the annual SIFE competition and will now go forward to the SIFE World Cup in Malaysia in October.
SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) is a not-for-profit global organisation that works to mobilise university students to make a difference within their communities while developing their skills to become socially responsible business leaders.
Guided by university and business advisers, students run real-life projects that create economic opportunity for others. An annual series of regional and national competitions provides a platform for teams to present the results of their projects, which are then judged by business leaders. The overall winners subsequently represent their country in the SIFE World Cup.
SIFE Southampton president Jack Stanbury, who was also named UK Team Leader of the Year at the national competition held in London, says: "Winning SIFE has been our team's ultimate goal for the past two years. The real-life experience of creating and running business programmes in a socially responsible way has transformed the way I think about my future.
"This has been such a valuable opportunity for me, and it's great to see the sponsors of SIFE champion all the students who take part in the competition."
Established in 2009, SIFE Southampton is currently undertaking six projects - three social ventures and three commercial enterprises. They include a project to create family-run farming businesses in Madagascar, and an enterprise programme run with unemployed teens in Southampton that has now been embedded within the Southampton City College curriculum. The team - which includes students of maths, geography, civil engineering and management - is also completely financially independent through their three businesses generating profits.
Helena Schulze, Student Enterprise Officer and University Advisor of the SIFE Southampton team, says: "SIFE empowers students to become brave leaders of tomorrow by developing their commercial skills through entrepreneurship and social responsibility.
"Having been involved with the SIFE programme for seven years, I have been able to see the direct impact this experience has on students during their time at university and beyond."
The competition runs in over 40 countries worldwide. SIFE UK has been established for nine years with an estimated 2,500 university students taking part in the programme each year, making it the largest university enterprise competition in the UK.