Students plug free enterprise- Capitalism is a passion for some college students.
Speaking about everything from compounding interest and private property rights to currency valuations and the global economy, more
than 300 students from eight campuses met in downtown Salt Lake City Wednesday to convince judges their team was the best at promoting
By Dave Anderton
Deseret News business writer
The first regional competition to be held in Salt Lake City, this year’s event was part of a national contest by Students in Free Enterprise, a
nonprofit group with headquarters in Springfield, Mo.
The program’s mission is to develop leadership skills and learning through teaching the fundamentals of the free enterprise system.
"The greatness of our country is because of free enterprise. Unless we are able to take this into the communities to people who don’t
understand free enterprise, we are in trouble in the long term," said Robert Kolenda, league coordinator of Salt Lake’s competition and an
executive consultant with California-based Management Action Programs.
Armed with PowerPoint presentations, scripted remarks and lots of enthusiasm, students mapped out their accomplishments in 24-minute
Projects were as varied as the institutions represented.
For example, Utah State University’s Latino Workshops are designed to teach financial skills to the area’s Hispanic community.
Levi Shaw, a USU sophomore majoring in accounting, said the three-hour seminars informed people how to open checking accounts, fill
out tax forms, use an ATM and finance a vehicle.
One woman in the workshop, Shaw said, didn’t understand that homes could be
financed, but expressed great emotion after learning payments could be spread out
over 30 years, realizing she could buy a home for her family.
Weber State University’s SIFE team took on 26 different projects, including one
called the Children’s Card Company, where fifth-grade students were taught how to run
their own businesses by making greeting cards and selling them during the Olympic
"I think this was kind of a stepping stone to help those children learn about
business and hopefully become really excited about it," said Jamie Warner, a WSU
junior and president-elect of the school’s SIFE team.
Warner, along with Denise Woodbury, a WSU finance professor and the school’s
SIFE team advisor, will travel to Shanghai, China, next month to teach finance and
international business to elementary students.
Wednesday’s competition was also a chance for students to network with
executives from leading national companies, like Exide Technologies, Sam’s Club and
Alberto-Culver Co., all sponsors of SIFE.
"We’ve had an outstanding number of individuals that have joined our company
through the SIFE program," said Tom Grimm, president and chief executive officer of
Sam’s Club and one of the 12 judges at the regional event. Grimm is also a WSU
USU and WSU took honors as the two regional champions. Their teams will move on to the national competition next month in Kansas
City, Mo. where more than $400,000 in cash prizes will be awarded.
Pepperdine University was first runner-up. Westminster College was second runner-up.
Casper College, based in Wyoming, won the two-year school division. Casper also will go on to compete on the national level. The national
champion will represent the U.S. at the SIFE World Cup this September in Amsterdam.
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