Dec. 8, 2009
SIFE students serve as mentors for Youth Entrepreneurship Summit
Members of Northwest's Students in Free Enterprise organization recently guided high school students during the fourth annual Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!) in Chillicothe.
The summit invites 120 high school students from four counties to display their creative talents in the areas of entrepreneurship by evaluating issues presented by a dozen businesses and organizations. Northwest students aid in this process by serving as table captains for groups of high school students and guide the evaluation process to conclusion.
"The SIFE students provide the right blend of youth working with youth that reinforces a basic success principle of YES!" said Steve Holt, director of the Small Business and Technology Development Center of Chillicothe. "Additionally, they are excellent ambassadors for Northwest and model the life changing choice to pursue a college degree."
Those involved with the YES! Summit believe it provides important experiences for high school students, Northwest students and the businesses involved.
"What makes this a great project is the feedback we get from the companies we work with at the conference," said Clifton Wilson, a SIFE student adviser who is a senior from Mound City majoring in financial business management and economic development. "I'm able to talk to many of the companies that attend, and it is amazing the number of ideas the students come up with that are used."
The Northwest chapter of Students in Free Enterprise was founded in 2000 and is part of the international organization. The goal of the organization is to promote entrepreneurship education among high school and college students as well as the community. The Northwest chapter consists of about 20 members and has competed at the regional level every year since 2001 and has twice qualified for the National SIFE Competition. SIFE members take on about 15 projects a year, including holding their own YES! Camp for fifth- and sixth-grade students on the Northwest campus.
"SIFE has helped me hone and improve almost every tool on my business tool belt," said Jason Orme, SIFE president and a senior from Red Oak, Iowa, majoring in accounting and corporate finance. "I am more organized, a better problem solver, more creative, a much better communicator and a motivator. I have also developed a massive network of faculty, students and business professionals nationwide through SIFE."
Dr. Jason White, SIFE adviser and assistant professor of accounting, economics and finance, said he encourages his students to consider becoming involved with the organization. One of the major benefits, he said, is that many U.S. corporations sponsor the organization and hold career fairs at the regional and national competitions, offering internships and jobs exclusively to SIFE students.
"The SIFE alumni network is very large," White said. "SIFE is not just a 'membership' organization. It is a tremendous resume-, skill- and character-building activity."
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