Entrepreneurial students show their worth in Los Angeles

November 1st, 2010

Students from The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China have scooped second place at the SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) World Cup.

Thirty-one students from the 114-strong team were in Los Angeles to pit their entrepreneurial skills against some of the world’s brightest young business minds. They were beaten into second place by French University in Egypt (UFE), whose victory saw them become SIFE world champions for the second year.

Prof Chris O’Brien, who acted as the team’s mentor, said: “This is quite a remarkable achievement when you consider that well over 1,000 teams have taken part worldwide — our students have been marvellous ambassadors for The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China.

“Our students, both the presenting team and the very large number of supporters who came over to LA, have won the hearts of the 4,000 delegates with their sheer professionalism and great charm. They have all done UNNC proud.”

SIFE works with universities and business to encourage and support the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. SIFE students develop their own community-based projects, using what they learn in the lecture theatre to solve real world problems. At the end of each year SIFE teams compete against each other, showcasing their projects to leading figures in business and education.

The winning team is crowned SIFE National Champion, and goes on to represent their country at the SIFE World Cup. The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China (UNNC) team had the honour of representing China after winning the national finals in June. They beat three regional fi nalists out of an original entry of 131 university teams from across China.

The students presented two of their nine social enterprise projects to the World Cup judges, Beevelop and The Ant River Ginseng Project. Beevelop is a venture which promotes honey sales for farmers. It has equipped beekeepers with the skills to raise wild bees — which are close to extinction. 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.

Beevelop has introduced new bee husbandry through initiatives involving better design and location of beehives, disease protection, fi nancial literacy training and business partnership with a local wholesale honey company. The project also protects the endangered Chinese wild bee.

The ginseng project received international accreditation for the quality product, fresh ginseng. The team 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-fi nance fund providing an interest free loan to the neediest farmers.

The SIFE World Cup showcases the impact that SIFE teams are achieving around the world. The competition brings together more than 1,500 students, academic and business leaders from more than 40 different countries.

More information about the UNNC team’s work and the projects they have established can be found at www.sifeunnc.org or www.sife.org

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