Changing opportunities into success

Heidi Stenquist
City Times

Students in Free Enterprise, SIFE, held its 11th annual Business Opportunity Marketplace in the Gorton Quad Feb. 27 as part of their curriculum; giving those enrolled hands-on business experience within a network community they create.

SIFE events are similar to project’s you might see on “The Apprentice,” with similar challenges of creating a business plan, organizing it, finding sponsors, designing a look, advertising, setting up, and left to students to implement. Coordinator Saurice Grady credits SIFE advisor, Dr. Leroy Brady, for “promoting leadership” in students, giving them the tools and resources needed to succeed in business.

The B.O.M event was comprised of companies that have opportunities for students and is part of several ongoing projects led and created by SIFE students each semester in an attempt to bring industry knowledge to fellow on-campus peers about free enterprise.

Blue and white balloons decorated the canopied booths that spotlighted the businesses of Western and Southern Financial Group, the U.S Marine Corp, Washington Mutual, Comerica and entrepreneurial students Miguel Valdez and Marie Disnew, who all showed up with opportunities and information. Student Tim Mitchell, accounting major, was “checking it out,” among other passers-by who were treated to Rock Star energy drinks during the sun drenched event.

Christina Rodriguez-Gonzalez, sales representative for Western and Southern Financial Group, was at the event to educate students about “20 Pay Whole Life Insurance,” a program for adults or children you pay into for 20 years, then never again. It is a rare investment that lets you pull out the interest in case of emergency, without paying penalties or taxes, and can be used for college or retirement.

Passionate about her work, Christina goes to homes and fingerprints kids with “Child ID Kits” she provides free to parents, bringing along “Play it Safe” coloring books for the kids. With five of her own kids, she has life insurance for all them. She said, “people don’t want to think about death,” but having recently lost a brother who didn’t have insurance, she believes in her work and the peace of mind she brings to families. To set up an in-home free consultation, contact [email protected].

Officers from the U.S Marine Corp were telling interested people about the benefits of a military career.

Banks competing for attention, Washington Mutual and Comerica, were there to help create a financial base for students and to make aware of their services available. Students signed up for checking and savings accounts and were given information on small business loans.

The Franchise Tax Board passed out freebie packs filled with a highlighter, post-it notes and a miniature nightlight to commemorate the first year tax program, Think-ReadyReturn; designed for people of low income.

Miguel Valdez, business major and entrepreneur, was there representing his company, Nutrition Enterprise, which links itself with Herbalife, distributing the product Zija and LIFTOFF, anti-oxidant energy drinks that work with the immune system.

Marie Disnew, SIFE alumni, who now teaches students to prepare for their own start-up companies, said that through SIFE she’s gained “financial literacy” in business. She was at the event selling her wares; inexpensive gifts that give those who can’t get to stores a chance to save time by bringing quality products to them.

SIFE offers business classes in operations, marketing, human resources, accounting and networking and is open to students wanting more businesses experience. Members are comprised of students who registered to expand their business education through real world application.

For future happenings in SIFE, classes offered and opportunities go to:

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Changing opportunities into success