SIFE team moves forward to national competition

Gainesville, Fla. – The University of Florida SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) team returned to Gainesville as winners after participating in the Orlando, Fla. SIFE USA Regional Competition on March 23, 2009. The event was one of 16 SIFE USA Regional Competitions being held across the United States in March and April.

After presenting a report of their year-long community outreach projects to a panel of business leaders, the university’s SIFE team was named a SIFE USA Regional Champion in the overall competition. The team will now advance to the national level of SIFE competition, at the SIFE USA National Exposition May 10-12 in Philadelphia, Pa.

“It was such a rewarding experience being able to share our team’s accomplishments this year with the rest of the SIFE community. Being named a regional winner was one of the most satisfying experiences because it showed our efforts had paid off,” said Brittany Pierce, a third-year marketing major and member of the UF SIFE presentation team.

SIFE is an international non-profit organization active on more than 1,400 university campuses in 48 countries. SIFE teams create economic opportunities in their communities by organizing outreach projects that focus on: market economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial success skills, and business ethics.

During this academic year, the UF SIFE team was proud to have organized 22 projects in the Gainesville community, including an expansion of its Financial Literacy Challenge. The Financial Literacy Challenge is an online, quiz-based scholarship competition that invites high school students to learn about finance topics, such as credit, budgeting, and investing. In Alachua County, 120 students participated in the pilot program during 2007. In 2008, 4,220 students from 49 states (and two military bases) participated in the scholarship program. Ninety-four percent of this year’s participants reported that they acquired new knowledge, and three scholarships, totaling $1,900, were awarded.

Jebi Mathew, captain of the Financial Literacy Challenge, says, “The expansion of the SIFE Financial Literacy Challenge has allowed us to reach a national audience in a very short amount of time. It has been gratifying to witness the tremendous impact SIFE students can have by using the skills we have developed in the Warrington College of Business Administration.”