SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — The Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team from Southwest Texas State University won the regional competition held recently in Fort Worth. The team also won two special competitions for its entries in the Kraft General Foods Success 2000 competition and the Jules & Gwen Knapp Foundation’s Halt the Deficit/ Reduce the Debt competition.
The team will go on to compete in the international competition May 9-12 in Kansas City, where they will compete against more than 70 teams from 12 geographical regions.
In 1997, the SWT SIFE team, in its first trip to the international competition, placed in the 20 teams.
The competition is based on the annual report that is an overview of the more than 80 on-going projects the SIFE team sponsors throughout the year. These local, regional and international projects reflect short- and long-term objectives, which coincide with the judging criteria, the basis of which is to educate and promote the principles of free enterprise.
Examples of some of the projects the SIFE team sponsored this year include the Lone Star Cupcake Factory and the fifth year of the Seeds to Success project.
The Lone Star Cupcake Factory, a new project for the team, teaches fourth grade through junior high students how market economies work, how business operates and how to identify market needs. The project takes the students through the process of operating their own corporation including issuing stock, conducting market surveys, borrowing capital, purchasing materials, manufacturing, advertising and selling the product. This program reached 1,500 students in Amarillo, Houston and Kyle.
In its fifth year, the Seeds to Success project uses an interactive coloring book to teach 474 first and second graders in 23 classes in San Marcos, Austin and Crystal City the importance of working hard and earning money to buy the things they want and need.
The team tries to incorporate its message in all its activities, which is evident in projects such as the Reduce-the-Debt Chili Cook-Off, where SIFE entered a popular chili cook-off and then educated the 4,500 observers on the magnitude of the debt by equating it to the 5,420 M&Ms they displayed in a glass jar. Each M&M represented $1 billion of the $5 trillion debt.
Vicki West and Jim Bell, faculty members of SWT’s School of Business, serve as advisors for the team.