11 Jun 2010 16:27:00.000
Students from The University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China (UNNC) have won the honour of representing China in the world finals of the ‘Students in Free Enterprise’ (SIFE) competition in Los Angeles in October 2010.
Twenty five students from the SIFE family of 113 represented the Nottingham University Business School, China, and won first place in the Xinfei 2010 SIFE National Competition in Shanghai. They beat three other regional finalists out of an original entry of 131 university teams from all over China.
The SIFE competition is the Olympics of the global business student world. Success at the national levels of the contest is widely regarded as a ticket to success in the business job market and many of the winning students have already been offered internships in top companies as a result
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Their prize winning presentation promoted two social enterprise business projects; Beevelop, a venture which promotes honey sales for farmers. The project has introduced new bee husbandry through initiatives involving better design and location of beehives, disease protection, financial literacy training and business partnership with a local wholesale honey company. The project also protects the endangered Chinese wild bee.
The Ant River Ginseng project was established to help extremely poor farmers in the North East of China, where the world’s best Ginseng is grown. SIFE members established a company and were granted international accreditation for their quality product, fresh ginseng. They introduced a new technology using mushrooms which, when planted next to the ginseng root, promote growth and productivity as well as an extra income for the farmers. The most innovative aspect of this project was the initiation of a micro-finance fund providing an interest free loan to the most needy farmers.
At the Chinese national final in Shanghai, The University of Nottingham Ningbo team had to impress 60 president-level judges chosen from the Top 500 world corporations. They were highly praised for their clearly presented annual report, innovative and influential projects, fluent English presentation and calm and unhurried professionalism.
The President of SIFE UNNC, Shen Jin, said: “The competition not only gave us an opportunity to show ourselves but also allowed more academic, business and media friends get to know UNNC. We would like to thank the SIFE Nottingham UK team for their continuous support particularly during the establishment of SIFE in Ningbo. This time we won in the name of the global University of Nottingham (UK, Malaysia and China) and in the future we would like to work together and more closely.”
Professor Chris O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Director of Nottingham University Business School China, added: “SIFE has been a remarkable success at UNNC, thanks to good leadership and the total commitment of all its members. The SIFE “family” is now the largest student society on campus constantly exploring new and inventive ways of creating business opportunities to support the disadvantaged in society. Their success in the national championships was a tribute to selfless dedication and professionalism. China could not wish for a stronger team to represent the nation in the finals.”
Dr Maris Farquharson, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said: “For a young university this is a great achievement. I have known three presidents of SIFE since 2007 and each year the students learn more, gain more confidence and this academic year they created projects with genuine benefits for their working partners. Their presentation was great but their main strength was their ability to handle the question and answer session succinctly. I think success comes from the students’ genuine passion for social entrepreneurship using market economics to improve peoples’ lives”.
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SIFE is an international organisation which brings together a diverse network of university students, academic professionals and industry leaders. The shared mission is to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business and entrepreneurship. The SIFE program year ends with the overall competition. This process provides teams with the opportunity to present their outreach projects to a panel of judges who evaluate those projects and determine which teams had the most impact improving the quality of life and standard of living for members of their community.
This competitive process creates a "best-practice" sharing environment and fosters a healthy spirit of competition, which encourages and rewards excellence. Every country that operates a SIFE program, at minimum, organises a national competition, from which one institution will be named national champion and advance to compete at the SIFE World Cup. Countries that operate large SIFE programs may host a series of regional competitions to narrow down the number of teams eligible to compete at their national competition.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives
(www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.