GREEN TEAM- Left to right: Joey Colangelo

GREEN TEAM- Left to right: Joey Colangelo

Okanagan SIFE team finds success at nationals

Okanagan College's SIFE team found success after competing in a national business competition in Calgary.

A group of 40 business students from Okanagan College,  nine of whom were from the South Okanagan, found success after competing in a national business competition in Calgary.

Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship’s National Exposition, which was held from May 7-9, is a national competition that brings together post-secondary students from all across Canada in an opportunity for them to compete with one another, while showing off their entrepreneurial skills.

To this end, there were a number of different challenges which push the students to develop and deliver projects that promote things such as entrepreneurship or environmental sustainability.

However, Amy Harder, president of SIFE Canada, said the prospect of handing out trophies isn’t the reason behind the competition.

“The students showcase their projects they’re running, the needs they’re addressing and the impact that they’re having, and through the process each and every year, the students are inspired,” she said.

The Okanagan Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team was made up of more than 100 students, and many of them spent countless hours developing and executing more than 14 projects. At the national exposition, this hard work was recognized.

The Okanagan SIFE team was one of six teams that presented in the Scotiabank SIFE Green Challenge and one of eight who presented in the TD SIFE Entrepreneurship competition. As well, the Okanagan SIFE team found success in the Let’s Can Hunger competition, placing first for the third year in a row. As well, the group took second place in the national financial literacy challenge.

Overall, the complete Okanagan College SIFE team was acknowledged as one of the top five in the country based on all their projects — an impressive feat, as they were competing against 50 other teams from around the country. Ultimately, they walked away with ranked third in the country.

“As the president this past year, I’m just thrilled with what happened,” said Penticton’s Caroline Wyatt, president of this year’s SIFE team. She also praised what the SIFE program has done for her persoanlly.

“SIFE has completely changed my life. I’m a better person because of it I know more people because of it, I recommend anyone going into the program to take it because it will change your life,” she said.

However, competition isn’t the real driving force for the team, said Harder

“They aren’t looking for wins, that’s not why they’re doing it, but it’s nice when it happens. Their win is about bettering their community.”

Accolades aside, one of the SIFE team’s more notable achievements this year was, in partnership with the OliveUs Education Society, helping 242 elementary school students raise more than $10,000 for entrepreneurs in 32 developing countries all over the world.