Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)
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Criterion Focus
This page is for members, friends, and onlookers as quick reference information about the new SIFE project criterion and terminology.

Due to the growth and success of SIFE teams over the years corporate SIFE, this past year, has restructured our project criterion from 7 separate emphases to 1. The new single criterion challenges our group to consider the relevant economic, social and environmental factors when empowering people in need "by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living."

Our core project philosophy still remains,
"Give me a fish and I will eat for a day; teach me how to fish and I will eat for a lifetime."


Economic Factors (Profit): SIFE projects should help others improve their skills, abilities and knowledge in a way that creates economic opportunity. Economic factors addressed by a SIFE project may include (but are not exclusive nor limited to): helping others increase the profitability of their (small) business, helping others improve an existing business, developing new entrepreneurial ventures which help increase revenue and profit for others, or illustrating that project participants have increased their personal wealth and/or financial management capacity.  

Social Factors (People): Social factors refer to anything tied to the well-being of the project participants. Examples of social factors addressed by SIFE projects may include (but are not exclusive nor limited to): poverty, fair and equal treatment and pay of employees, employee development, developing people’s success skills, business ethics and reinvesting profit or gains into the surrounding community through sponsorships of other social initiatives.  

Environmental Factors (Planet): In its simplest terms, these factors will relate to conscientious use and conservation of resources. SIFE teams should take into consideration the reduction of the carbon footprint of their team, school, community and project partners. Examples of considering environmental factors in SIFE projects may include (but are not exclusive nor limited to): compensating for travel pollution, using recyclable materials for training tools and workshops, conducting an environmental audit, profitability of environmentally friendly solutions/materials/products, choosing sustainable materials for new products and processes, working with bio degradable products and sustainable energy sources and much more. From the planning stage until the execution of the project, SIFE teams should make the necessary arrangements to ensure that their projects minimize impact on the environment.

All SIFE teams should demonstrate the ‘positive power of business’ throughout their projects. In order to fit within the framework of the ‘positive power of business,’ SIFE teams should apply a business mindset to the project process, content and delivery. Economic and business concepts are essential to help individuals and businesses become more successful. Wherever possible, SIFE teams should center their projects on delivering these core concepts. Economic and business concepts include (but are not exclusive nor limited tothe fundamentals of the market economy, (international) trade, supply/demand, competition, price elasopportunity cost, factors of production, tax, finance, accounting, investment, insurance, management, marketing and human resources. Additionally, practicing business ethics is inherent in this process.

People in need can be any community, individual or group who is lacking skills/knowledge/education in a particular subject area. In the context of SIFE, ‘people in need’ is NOT limited to simply the poor, disadvantaged and/or marginalized in society. SIFE teams should feel free to take a broad and inclusive approach to the concept of ‘need.’ As long as teams can show that they have researched and identified a particular need with their target audience, teams are free to work with whomever they like. It is essential that SIFE teams establish the 'need' in advance of their project through a needs assessment.

Empowering people occurs when a SIFE team is successful in shifting their project participants from dependancy to self determination. Phrases to keep in mind when trying to achieve long-term empowerment of target audience: 1. People support what they help create. 2. Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I will learn.

‘Standard of Living’ often refers to physical (material) circumstances in which people live, the goods and services they are able to consume and the economic resources they have access to. It indicates the financial health of a population. The term is applied specifically to a measure of the consumption of goods and services by an individual or group, sometimes called “level of living” (what is) as opposed to “standard” (what is desired). ‘Standard of Living’ refers to the economic well-being of people. It incorporates material comforts, ease of living and opportunities for personal satisfaction.It is usually used in a relative context. (Source: Economic Standard of Living Social Report 2009)

‘Quality of Life’, on the other hand, refers to essence of experience, or ‘the notion of human welfare measured by social indicators rather than by ‘quantitative’ measures of income and production.' (Source: Quality of Life. (n.d.) In UN Data Glossary. Retrieved from

In addition, ‘Quality of Life’ is subjective. People have different belief systems which influence the way that they value their own lives. Factors such as religion, culture, age, gender, location, education, and wealth all impact the way people perceive their own existence and consequently, their ‘Quality of Life’. Hence, it is challenging toidentify one universal way of measuring and valuing ‘Quality of Life’ across countries and/or on an individual basis. Therefore, SIFE teams may be advised to use qualitative measurement tools which focus on capturing their results in improving the 'Quality of Life' for others.