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Flagler College’s Students In Free Enterprise team has won first place at the SIFE USA National Competition in Philadelphia.
Executives from companies around the country judged 118 teams at the May 12 event. Competition included Carnegie Mellon University, University of Florida and two-time World Cup champions Drury University.
FCSIFE’s next stop will be the SIFE World Cup competition in Berlin, where the students will compete against about 45 other teams this October. FCSIFE is no stranger to the contest; the group won the national title in 2004 and came in second in the world in 2005.
“We are so excited,” said Jessica Welch, FCSIFE president. “The competition was tough … But the Flagler SIFE team is so incredibly close. The judges said they could tell we were emotionally invested and attached to these programs, and that we’d all worked on them.”
SIFE is a global nonprofit organization active on more than 1,400 college campuses in more than 48 countries and territories. Student teams develop projects to help create economic opportunity by teaching concepts related to free market economics, business ethics, entrepreneurship, personal finance and success skills.
FCSIFE worked on about 20 projects during the past year, according to Welch. She said two projects in particular stand out. One is an ethics training video created for the 9,000 employees and franchise owners of Winmark Corp. The other is Suruwat, a success skills and financial literary program for Nepalese refugees living in the United States.
“It [‘suruwat’] means creating new beginnings,” Welch said. “The whole program is designed to help them succeed here, because our culture is so different from theirs.”
The Winmark video also took second place in the business ethics topic competition, while Amaro’s Army — a monthly television feature with money-saving tips that is aired on First Coast News — received third place in a financial literacy topic competition.
“We felt very confident walking into the competition that our kids were champions, whether they won or not,” said Donna DeLorenzo, who advises SIFE along with Barry Sand. “They put the effort in, and their projects were great and sincere and authentic … I think we take a very unique approach, and all the projects are extremely creative.”
More information about the SIFE national competition is available at http://www.sife.org/usnational/results.asp.