Press Release for Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Entrepreneurial Organization Advances to National Competition

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team returned to Jacksonville as regional winners of the “Duel in the Queen City” competition, held at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte last month, and will advance to the national “Duel in the Desert” competition in March.

The winning UNF SIFE team was among 12 regional winners and will be matched against 23 other winning regional teams from across the country at the national competition in Tuscan, Ariz., to be held March 2-5, to vie for cash prizes of up to $3,000.

“Many of our projects are funded by organizations that believe we can be successful in implementing projects in our community and overseas,” said UNF SIFE Vice President Chris Hernandez, a junior majoring in international business and transportation logistics. “Winning this competition will help us gain confidence from many of those organizations.”

The “Duel in the Desert” is a national personal financial case study competition funded by Take Charge America, a non-profit national consumer credit counseling company. At this event, teams are given hypothetical case studies about a family in financial distress. In 36 hours, competitors must research the situation and design a creative solution to the dilemma based on the family’s situation, economics, geography and resources. The teams are then judged by an expert panel of judges.

During the past academic year, the UNF SIFE team developed and completed 20 educational outreach projects in the Jacksonville community as well as a computer literacy program in Zambia, Africa, to help promote the principles of entrepreneurship. The UNF SIFE just received an I CHOOSE grant for $5,000 towards outreach projects in local high schools and a financial literacy grant of $1,000 to be used towards conducting financial workshops to high school students and other members of the community.

The international SIFE organization received more than $1 million in grant funding from the Marcus Foundation to implement the I Choose grant program, which targets at-risk youth in the Southwestern United States. Through the grant program, up to 50 SIFE teams per year over the next three years will receive individual grants to teach free enterprise principles and entrepreneurship to low-income and at-risk high school students.

SIFE is an international non-profit organization active on over 1,800 university campuses in more than 40 countries. SIFE teams create economic opportunities in their communities by organizing outreach projects that teach market economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial success skills and business ethics.