A new generation of socially responsible business leaders

The University of Melbourne Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team will hold a showcase on Monday 11 July 2011 to celebrate the team’s social, environmental and community projects throughout 2011.

The SIFE team, founded in 2003, now consists of 78 students from across the University. SIFE aims to improve the lives of others by strengthening communities, engaging the business world in project partnerships, and creating a new generation of socially responsible business leaders. The SIFE team is supported by Brooke Young, Director of Marketing and Commercial Engagement for the Faculty of Business and Economics.

The Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, Professor Margaret Abernethy said, “The Faculty is proud to support SIFE – a non-profit, student organisation who aim to use their university knowledge and skills to drive social change. In partnership with academic and business leaders, the team has developed a range of social enterprises and community outreach projects that target
social inequality and climate change. SIFE is a unique student organisation, in that it places students in real-world situations where they deal with pressing social issues, providing a practical opportunity to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills.”

SIFE currently has a portfolio of five community projects which target a broad range of issues including environmental sustainability, employment for disadvantaged groups, revitalisation of suburban neighbourhoods, and developing sustainable sources of income for small enterprises in the developing world.

Think.Act.Green (T.A.G.) aims to increase environmental awareness among secondary school students. T.A.G. is now working with over 100 students from fifteen schools in Victoria, and has gained sponsorship of over $30,000 to aid investment in sustainable initiatives driven by students.

Switched-On Enterprises assists social enterprises to improve their business models. This year, SOE has engaged with six non-profit initiatives, helping them empower disadvantaged members of the community by providing them with employment and generating tangible financial results/benefits.

Nexus Abroad assists community organisations in developing countries to achieve financial independence. Nexus continues its engagement with Nectar Home in Ghana, having helped the home generate over $20,000 in income through a commercial volunteer program. Nexus is now expanding operations to India, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Street Stories – a walking tour with a difference – is a new social enterprise coming to the streets of Melbourne. Guided by people who are experiencing homelessness and highlighting some of the city’s lesser known areas, the tours are set to launch at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival in September.

Imprint, our latest project, is rejuvenating social spaces in areas of lower socioeconomic status by bringing community members together with businesses, local councils and university design students.

The team will compete this week in the 2011 SIFE Australia National Championships in Sydney for a chance to compete alongside members of a 42,000 strong network that spans 39 countries in Kuala Lumpur in October.

The showcase will be held at 6pm on Monday 11 July at Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre A. Presentations will highlight the accomplishments of each project and set out SIFE’s vision for the next 12 months. The showcase also represents an opportunity for SIFE to recognise the business and community partners who have worked in partnership with the team over the years.

For more information, contact Anny Ma, Marketing & Communications Manager, SIFE team at marcom@unimelbsife.org.au

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