Students in Free Enterprise Place First Runner-up

by Sarah Small

At a competition in Chicago last week, ILLINOIS’ Students in Free Enterprise team placed first runner-up in the tournament-style competition of the SIFE organization, only one place away from continuing on to the national competition and the SIFE World Cup.

At ILLINOIS, SIFE is a student-run organization that creates various projects with a local focus. The projects address topics like business ethics, environmental sustainability, financial literacy, success skills, entrepreneurship and market economics, said Ben Miller, freshman in Supply Chain Management and Information Systems and Information Technology, and member of SIFE.

“Through doing these projects we successfully better our school and community,” Miller said.

On a global level, Students in Free Enterprise is an organization with 1,500 active teams in 40 countries around the world. The organization has nearly 42,000 participating students worldwide.

When the team competed in Chicago, its members presented the different projects they had completed throughout the course of the year, and then answered questions from the judges, 15 corporate professionals.

Miller said the biggest challenge the students encountered this year was establish a niche for SIFE at the large university. SIFE is still a relatively young organization at the University, and has many larger organizations to compete with for students and College resources, Miller said, but he acknowledged that as time passes SIFE’s presence will become more visible.

“The U of I SIFE team is relatively new and still growing,” Miller said. “As we grow, the success of the team will improve.”

Currently the team has about 20 members, Miller said, and they can already see the progress. In the same competition last year, the ILLINOIS team earned the distinction of Rookie of the Year; they are pleased with being the first runner-up and see it as a big step in the right direction.

This is only the beginning,” Miller said. “As first-runner up, we were one place away from earning a spot to the National Championship. Next year we want to win a Regional Championship and go to the National Championship.”