Campus Life  

SIFE Okanagan is best in the West, again!

Okanagan College Media Release

Two top-place finishes at the Western Canada regional competitions this month have left Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team eager for the national competition in May.

The College’s SIFE team showed once again that it is the dominant team in Western Canada, when it returned home from the Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) Regional Exposition in Calgary (held March 13-14) with more hardware than any other competing team.

The SIFE Okanagan students took first place in the TD SIFE Entrepreneurship Challenge, besting Thompson Rivers University, the University of Alberta, the University of Saskatchewan, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and British Columbia Institute of Technology. The SIFE students participating in this competition were Sattu Dhaliwal, Kyle Abbott, Nikki Lees and Aman Sandhu (all from Kelowna) and Megan Annand from the Vernon campus.

SIFE Okanagan also took first place in the SIFE Financial Literacy Challenge, beating out SIFE teams from the University of Regina, Simon Fraser University, Brandon University and Devry Institute of Technology. The SIFE students participating were Jeff Tassone and Raymond Ong (Kelowna campus), Kaylin England and Brant Jackson (Vernon campus) and Steven DeBoer (Salmon Arm campus).

The SIFE Okanagan team just missed the 'triple crown' by placing Runner-up in the Scotiabank & SIFE Go Green Challenge, beating out Mount Royal University, University of Regina, Thompson Rivers University and Royal Roads University. The SIFE students participating in this competition were Jenni Stefanson, Danielle Hofer, Bunvir Nijer and Cooper Harrison (from Kelowna campus) and Jesse Postnikoff (from Vernon campus).

Students from all four campuses (Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm) participate in the SIFE Okanagan program and were there cheering on their team in Calgary.

“Through SIFE Okanagan’s entrepreneurship and financial education focused projects, this team continues to strive for greatness and takes pride in their accomplishments,” said Amy Harder, ACE President. “They are a perfect example of the tireless efforts of our SIFE students to help build a better Canada for today and tomorrow.”

"It is so rewarding to receive recognition for all the hard work the team has put into these projects throughout the year,” said Sattu Dhaliwal, SIFE Okanagan President. “It has been an honour to lead this motivated group of students and to see our SIFE team this year expand its impact and reach to our fourth campus of Salmon Arm."

"The structure of SIFE is such that participants benefit immeasurably from their experiences. They are fortunate to share in a powerful applied experience with peers through one of the most effective learning processes I've witnessed,” observed Madelaine Befus, Associate Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “The level of engagement and enthusiasm of all student delegates and faculty advisors was remarkable. All students I spoke with recognized they were taking part in a life-altering event; many commented they were either changing or recommitting to educational pathways as a result of their SIFE experience."

Some of the projects the SIFE students presented on included the Dragon's Den middle and high school entrepreneurial competition (operating in the Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna campuses), the Instill Life program delivered to elementary schools in Penticton, Naramata and Kelowna, the Green Business Awards program in Kelowna and Vernon, the Venture Okanagan capital and mentoring forum, and financial literacy projects delivered to youth, post-secondary students, and people struggling with mental illness.

"The SIFE Okanagan students at Okanagan College continue to impress and inspire me,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, SIFE’s faculty advisor. “Their dedication and commitment to their community makes me confident about the future generation of strong leaders that programs like SIFE are helping to create.”

The students are now busy preparing for the National Competition on May 9-11 in Toronto. They are competing in four events: National Entrepreneurship, National Financial Literacy, National Campbell's Soup Let’s Can Hunger Challenge and National SIFE team. The top SIFE team in the country will compete at the SIFE World Cup this fall in Malaysia.

In 2010, SIFE Okanagan had a tremendous showing, coming home with major awards including the 2010 National Campbell’s Soup Let's Can Hunger Champion, the 2010 Scotiabank Go Green Challenge National Champion, and the HSBC Financial Literacy National Runner-up.

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