The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team at The University of Western Australia has won the 2012 SIFE National Championships after impressing a judging panel of national CEOs and executives.
The team, based at the UWA Business School, beat 23 other teams from around Australia at the SIFE National Conference and Championships in Melbourne. It was the fourth SIFE UWA National Championships win in five years.
SIFE UWA's portfolio of six projects was found to best address the SIFE judging criterion, which requires that teams empower people in need "by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living."
The team's current projects are targeted at empowering students, communities facing extreme poverty, people with disabilities and consumers.
Projects include: Balya, which cultivates microfinance enterprises in the Indigenous Jigalong community; ProjectTHINK, which introduces a truly environmentally friendly bag into Australia while assisting Indian women and disabled Australians; Mama Shujaa, which empowers Kenyan women to run their own business; reSHOE, which recycles shoes while assisting disabled Australians and low income Senegalese; The Fair Trade Pop Up Shop, which raises awareness of Fair Trade products; and Finance for Life, which teaches basic financial skills to students and young adults.
Dean of the UWA Business School, Winthrop Professor Phil Dolan, congratulated the team on its victory.
"SIFE UWA plays a vital role in allowing our students to put into practice what they learn in the classroom in a way which makes a real difference," Professor Dolan said. "We are very proud of what the team has accomplished."
SIFE UWA President and Commerce/Law student Ajay Malhotra said the team was pleased its hard work had produced tangible outcomes for local and international communities.
"SIFE is all about seeing a problem, using entrepreneurial thinking and taking a sustainable approach to solving the problem.
"Our SIFE team is an amazing group of highly motivated and passionate students who all want to leave the world a better place than they found it," he said. "We are thrilled that our projects have been recognised by the judging panel."
The SIFE UWA presenting team consisted of students Jiamin Lim, Ragu Raman, Shannon Ziegelaar, Jasmin Sekhon and Bowen Tan. Carey Lee co-ordinated audio visual, SIFE UWA President Ajay Malhotra led the team, and delegates who assisted the team and also travelled to Melbourne included Lauren Ziegelaar, Nancy Zheng and Victoria Wager.
The SIFE UWA team is guided by Faculty Advisor Dr Doina Olaru and the SIFE Regional Coordinator Dr Donella Caspersz, both from the UWA Business School.
The team will now prepare to travel to Washington DC in September for the SIFE World Cup, where the US State Department will host the competition and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will welcome SIFE teams from around the world.
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