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15 May 2009
A group of student social entrepreneurs, which came together only six months ago, has recently celebrated reaching the semi-finals of a national competition.
Recognising their contributions to the local community, the University’s SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) team were praised by SIFE UK for their achievements in setting up a successful fruit and vegetable co-operative in the Students’ Union, helping develop the local Riverside Market and setting up a consultancy service (SIFEC consultants) to work with the local homeless shelter The Huggard Centre.
Basing their social enterprises around the SIFE principles of financial literacy, business ethics, environmental sustainability and market, the seven-strong Cardiff team have also successfully fostered partnerships with student societies (People & Planet, Green Party, Enterprise Society), and external organisations such as Young Enterprise and the Riverside Co-op and have won grants from both HSBC and Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
The team is now keen to continue to expand its operations and is currently seeking new volunteer members with entrepreneurial flair to ensure the social enterprises continue to flourish.
Third year student and team co-ordinator Jon Channon, who is responsible for Your University Co-Op, said: "It was an amazing achievement for us to get to the semi-finals. We saw off competition from universities whose teams were ten times the size of ours.
"One of the SIFE principles is that the enterprises we set up are sustainable so we are looking to build on this year success, and grow the enterprises and student members."
Antonia Coppen, Enterprise Projects Officer, said: "This small team has achieved phenomenal things in such a short space of time and it has been an amazing experience for them. This latest group of aspiring students have been able to make vital contributions to the local community, while enhancing their own employability.
"It helps develop skills to prepare them for employment, they get to meet and work with likeminded people and network with employers. The most rewarding aspect though is making a difference to people in the local community who really can benefit from the help and support these students provide."
SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. It is active in 41 countries, has in excess of 1500 member universities and more than 34,000 active students across the world.
Students interested in the work of SIFE at Cardiff University should visit: www.sifec-consultants.co.uk or contact Alastair Smith on smitham3@Cardiff.ac.uk to find out how to join the team.
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