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AUT entrepreneurs take national win to Toronto

SIFE AUT entrepreneurs take national win to Toronto

AUT students will represent New Zealand at the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) World Cup in Toronto this October after claiming first prize today at the 2005 SIFE New Zealand National competition.

Students in today’s event have created, marketed and managed sustainable community outreach projects that positively impact New Zealand’s economy. In a strong contest, six tertiary institutions from throughout the country showcased their projects to a panel of New Zealand’s key business professionals.

The win confirms AUT students as emerging business leaders and comes after phenomenal growth of the team and its projects, says SIFE AUT chief executive officer Alex Patterson.

"I am proud of the team effort and of the 60 students that worked so hard to implement our projects. In March last year we launched SIFE AUT with only four members. Just four months later this small team was runner up in the 2004 SIFE competition presenting one project.”

Mr Patterson says the growth and commitment of the group since then has been a remarkable and humbling experience. “I have always believed in our team and the competition has just proven to a wider community of people how great SIFE AUT is and will be into the future."

The panel judged each project on seven criteria prescribed by the World Cup competition. These included free markets in a global economy, how entrepreneurs succeed, personal financial success skills, business ethics, measuring results and use of mass media and the Internet.

Outcomes such as seeing long-term unemployed people gain employment, 11-year-olds realise they can achieve their dreams and teenagers gain the IT skills they need for employment capped off the experience, says SIFE AUT president Kate Massey.

"The competition allowed us to showcase the amazing differences we have made in our communities through our outreach projects. We’ve worked hard, and strong support from AUT produced the best possible results. Having these achievements recognised by the New Zealand business community is icing on the cake."

Ms Massey says SIFE AUT offers a best practice example of the teaching philosophies of AUT, to create work-ready students able to launch straight into the business world.

SIFE AUT presented eight community outreach projects in a 24 minute multi-media presentation followed by a five-minute question time from the panel. The projects focussed in three areas: teaching - Networx, Marketeers, Entrepreneurship Roadshow 2005; community mentoring - Community Support, Mentoring, WorkNZ; and revenue generation - Pro-Activ Consulting Project Team.

Senior business lecturers Helene Capner and Mark Le Fevre have been academic mentors with SIFE AUT since its inception. Professor Capner congratulated the winning team for making a tangible difference to communities in just 12-months.

“I am proud to be part of this team and share in its' success,” she says. “I thank every member who has taken up the challenge to be part of SIFE AUT - this is your success too."

SIFE is a not-for-profit global community of tertiary students at 1800 institutions who epitomise the next generation of business entrepreneurship. SIFE AUT’s membership hails from across all academic disciplines, including business, health, communications and sport and recreation. Mr Patterson and Ms Massey are fulltime students who work fulltime for the group to gain degree accreditation.

As the national winners SIFE AUT will go on to compete for the global title in Toronto, October 5-7. Other tertiary institutions competing today were: University of Canterbury, Massey University, UNITEC Institution of Technology, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato.

Photo caption: The winning team, SIFE AUT (left to right), Luke Carle, Kate Massey, Jack Phattraprayoon, Sarah Lau, Alex Patterson (not pictured William Papesch)

ENDS

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