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SIFE AUT entrepreneurs take nat'l win to Toronto

SIFE AUT entrepreneurs take national win to Toronto

A project enabling long-term unemployed to gain work has seen its creators scoop the national title at the 2005 SIFE competition and a place at the SIFE World Cup in Toronto this October.

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) AUT claimed the top prize against competitors from five New Zealand tertiary institutions in the one-day event held on Saturday July 16. Project designers SIFE AUT will represent New Zealand and compete alongside 46 other countries for the global title.

SIFE is a not-for-profit global community of tertiary students at 1800 institutions who epitomise the next generation of business entrepreneurship. Students apply the free enterprise system in the real business world to improve their communities. SIFE AUT’s membership hails from across all academic disciplines, including business, health, communications and sport and recreation.

In Saturday's contest, all six teams presented community outreach projects they had designed, marketed and managed in a 24 minute multi-media presentation to a panel of the country’s key business professionals.

AUT's win 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 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, sustainability, measuring results and use of mass media and the Internet.

SIFE AUT presented eight 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.

Receiving such a prestigious accolade from the New Zealand business community is icing on the cake, says SIFE AUT president Kate Massey.

"The competition enabled 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."

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.

Senior business lecturers Helene Capner and Mark Le Fevre have been academic mentors with SIFE AUT since its inception. Ms Capner congratulated the winning team for making a real 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."

Mr Patterson and Ms Massey are fulltime students who work fulltime for the group to gain degree accreditation.

Other tertiary institutions competing in Saturday's competition were: University of Canterbury, Massey University, UNITEC Institution of Technology, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato.


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