New ‘Team New Zealand’ heads to Berlin World Cup

July 23, 2009

And like four AUT teams before them, SIFE AUT now takes on the heavyweight title of ‘Team New Zealand’.

SIFE comprises tertiary students from more than 1800 institutions worldwide. SIFE teams aim to improve the success and well-being of their communities by creating and implementing ethical business enterprise projects locally, nationally and sometimes, internationally.

SIFE AUT’s past projects have included mentoring low income families on how to gain wealth through health, a successful pilot blood donation campaign targeting 18-25-year-olds for NZ Blood, and providing work skill seminars and support for young mothers seeking to return to the workforce.

Masters of Business student and SIFE AUT president Clare George says this year working with global group ‘Ooooby’ was the team’s most relevant project yet.

“Ooooby, which means Out of our own backyards, is so right for the times,” she says. “It’s a networking website that links people who grow food with people who want to trade or buy food. It’s about making sure that excess lemons that could be left to rot on lawns, for example, have a welcome home to go to,” she adds.

“So jumping on board to review Ooooby’s New Zealand business plan and help its creators make the project successful here made our job easy.”

SIFE AUT was tasked with increasing Ooooby’s exposure in Auckland. George says the most satisfying measure of success was hearing about communities swapping food over fences because they now know who has what and who wants what.

The National Cup Competition was held at KPMG’s Viaduct premises. The judging panel included business professionals from HSBC, Progressive Enterprises Ltd, the Department of Justice, the EMA, Olsson & Zigliani Consultants Ltd., KPMG

Cryovac, Conceive Advertising, Korn Ferry and BIC.

SIFE NZ CEO Tony Price says he was impressed with the high level of competition and diversity of projects that all New Zealand’s SIFE teams had undertaken.

SIFE AUT academic mentor Dr Mark Le Fevre says the judges commented that AUT’s team had successfully identified needs in their communities, outlined tangible, measurable impacts and shown that its projects were sustainable. George adds it’s a huge honour and responsibility to represent New Zealand at the SIFE World Cup.

“Kiwis have long made an imprint on the world and while we might be the little guy, we intend to represent New Zealand with a strong, clear voice.”

SIFE AUT comprises around 80 AUT students and supporters from across the university but mainly those studying for a Bachelor of Business degree. This is the fourth national win for SIFE AUT. In 2005 they took home the top trophy and placed 20th in the world competition. In 2006 they placed second in the national competition, and in 2007 and 2008 SIFE AUT twice represented New Zealand in New York – placing in the top 16 out of more than 1800 teams worldwide – and then Singapore.

The team of eight will represent New Zealand in Berlin this October. It includes five presenters, two IT support people and two academic mentors. They are: SIFE AUT president Clare George, vice president Ekaterina Melnikova, Akbar Makani, Nina McHardy, Aimee Barnes, with Rayvin Wong and Sandy Sebastian on IT, and Dr Mark Le Fevre and Helene Wilkinson.

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