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Southampton students to represent the UK in international business enterprise competition

Published: 3 May 2012
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Students from the University of Southampton will be representing the UK in an international competition for business leaders of the future, for the second year running.

The team from Southampton have retained their national champion title at the annual SIFE competition. They will now go forward to the SIFE World Cup in Washington DC in September.

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 was chosen over 47 other universities at the national finals, after they presented three social projects: Wisemind, Right Light and EnterpRICE. These projects aim to have a positive impact on individuals and communities, be it through teaching skills in business, helping rebuild incomes or supporting new businesses.

SIFE students make a difference in communities around the world
SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise)

Christopher Coates, President of SIFE Southampton, says: “After winning the national competition last year, our aim was to defend our title. However, although it is a competition, every member of SIFE gets involved to change the lives of those both locally and internationally, through applying innovative business solutions. Our 131 members invest enormous amounts of their time and effort, alongside their degrees, to change people's lives through the positive power of business; this win would not have been possible without every single member. It is fantastic to be recognised for our team's hard work and ideas, and is an experience we'll never forget.

“Whilst running what are effectively our own social enterprises, we acquire valuable business and employability skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication and how to conduct ourselves in a professional environment. We'll be trying to send a large team to represent the University of Southampton at the SIFE World Cup in Washington DC, which should be another fantastic experience for everyone involved.”

Established in 2009, the SIFE Southampton team draws students from a wide range of courses from maths to geography and civil engineering; and is completely financially independent through their three businesses which generate profits. It is something that the University is extremely proud of and has recognised SIFE as part of the celebrations to commemorate the University’s 60th anniversary, which is this year. The team was advised and supported throughout the process by Karen-Louise Haynes and Rosalind Davies who both work with the Careers and Employability Service.

Rosalind says: “SIFE encourages students to become the leaders of tomorrow by developing their commercial skills through entrepreneurship and social responsibility. SIFE students have vision, passion and a commitment to bring about positive change in society and it is inspirational to see how they have developed their local and international projects this year, how they have empowered so many people and how, through strong teamwork, they have achieved this alongside their studies. It’s fantastic news for the whole SIFE team to have their results recognised in this award and to be invited to represent the UK at the SIFE World Cup in September.”

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.

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