ACE Memorial students are getting ready to take a bite out of the Big Apple. This group of passionate and determined business students have been named the SIFE National Champions for the second year in a row, earning them the right to represent Canada in the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) World Cup in New York City. The SIFE World Cup is a prestigious global competition that judges teams of university and college students on the projects they’ve worked on to help their community.
ACE Memorial programs have impacted 2,236 people throughout the province as the group strives to fulfill its mission: to infuse an entrepreneurial spirit into Newfoundland and Labrador.
One of the projects that ACE Memorial highlighted in the competition was Launch Pad, the only student run entrepreneurial incubation centre in the country. Located in the Inco Innovation Centre, Launch Pad provides student business owners with tangible and intangible resources ranging from mentoring to physical space. In 2007, Launch Pad’s four clients, all whom are full-time university students, are expected to generate revenues of $510,000. One client, Upstream Media, has increased revenues by 700 per cent since joining Launch Pad, while another, Knotty Designs, won the 2007 Newfoundland and Labrador Entrepreneur of the Year Award
One of ACE Memorial’s newest projects is helping Moulder of Dreams Pottery Studio in Port Hope Simpson, Labrador. The studio was created to provide a source of employment and social enrichment for members of the community who have a myotonic dystrophy, a rare handicap. Although there was high demand for this product, the studio ran into sustainability difficulties and was forced to shut down. With ACE Memorial’s help, the studio will reopen this summer with four employees and a distribution network reaching 20 countries. The studio now has a plan to be sustainable in two years.
While ACE has been creating new projects, the group has also expanded existing programs. In 2006, ACE Memorial teamed up with Mary Queen of Peace elementary school to teach students about running their own business. The Think Green project taught skills ranging from public relations and marketing to accounting and project management. A group of grade six students successfully ran their own recycling business, collecting over 117,000 recyclables and producing revenues of over $15,000 for the school. The project has grown to five schools across the province, and is now being run in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.
Faculty advisor Lynn Morrissey believes that the secret to the team’s continued success is the passion students have. “The theme we used this year was ‘tomorrow starts today’. The projects we are running today are laying the foundation for a better tomorrow,” explained Ms. Morrissey. “The students are passionate about their work and the judges recognize this, their dedication and the real-world impact the programs have.”
ACE Memorial president Angela Dyke agrees. “Every student involved with ACE Memorial demonstrates passion, motivation, creativity and innovation. Their commitment to our projects has allowed us to become one of the strongest ACE teams in the country. In the past year alone, our gross volunteer hours have more than tripled, from 4,937 hours in 2005-2006 to 16,321 in 2006-2007."
In addition to being named the most enterprising campus in Canada, a prize that brings with it the coveted Frank Stronach Cup, ACE Memorial won the 2007 HSBC Financial Education Challenge for BEGIN (Business Education Growing in Newfoundland and Labrador), a program aimed at improving financial literacy in high school students. The program ran as a pilot in Gonzaga High School with great success. Doug LeDrew, enterprise teacher at Gonzaga said, “We’re looking forward to having ACE Memorial back next year and spreading BEGIN throughout the province.” ACE Memorial is currently working with the Department of Education on incorporating the program into the curriculum province-wide.
Members of ACE Memorial also garnered two individual prizes. For the second year in a row, a team member won the prestigious John Dobson Founder’s Bursary. Last year, Angela Dyke was the recipient and this year Heather Comerford won the award, which recognizes superior leadership and team development. Ms. Comerford is the incoming president of ACE Memorial.
Faculty advisory Lynn Morrissey was awarded the John Dobson ACE Fellow of the Year Award, recognizing her outstanding contribution as a mentor and coach to students involved with the SIFE program. Ms. Dyke wrote the nomination letter for the ACE Fellow of the Year Award. As she explained, “Lynn is an essential component of the ACE Memorial team and her support and dedication has gotten ACE Memorial to where we are today. Lynn’s motivation and passion is amazing, and she is a mentor and inspiration for the team.”
As the team prepares for their second bid for the World Cup, they have the support of the entire university community. Dr. Gary Gorman, dean of the Faculty of Business, said he’s proud of the team’s accomplishments. “ACE has taken their academic knowledge and applied it to real world situations, bringing their entrepreneurial sprit to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Their community service is to be commended, and I’m extremely proud to see their efforts rewarded with the 2007 National Champion title. As they head to the World Cup, I’m confident they will represent us well.”
Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University, said that ACE Memorial students serve as important role models for the entire student body. “ACE Memorial’s hard work, determination, and passion for the betterment of this province have served them well. I have no doubt they will make excellent ambassadors for the university, the province, and the country.”
Throughout the summer, Memorial will continue working on their existing projects, developing their presentation for the World Cup, and fundraising for corporate support. They hope to send a large group of students to New York City to support the presentation team and experience the international competition. The World Cup takes place from Oct. 10-12 in New York City.