SIFE teams teach financial literacy

James
James McLeod
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People - young people especially - don't know enough about their own money matters, according to the SIFE chapter at the College of the North Atlantic (CNA).

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is an international program where college and university students use entrepreneurial principles to run community development projects.

People - young people especially - don't know enough about their own money matters, according to the SIFE chapter at the College of the North Atlantic (CNA).

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is an international program where college and university students use entrepreneurial principles to run community development projects.

Running a program called "Life with SIFE" the CNA team is mentoring 12 young people in the Rabbittown neighbourhood, teaching them financial literacy.

"We wanted to run a project that targeted youth, just to go in and introduce the skills that they don't get elsewhere," said Elizabeth O'Keefe, president of SIFE-CNA.

O'Keefe said basic understanding of financing is something that's too often lacking, even on basic things such as credit card interest rates and budgeting.

In another program, the group runs an annual art exhibit called "Total Exposure."

"It's basically an art exhibit where there's no cost for them to come and sell their work. Like, if they sold anything at the event we took 15 per cent, more or less just to break even," said Laurie Butler, the SIFE-CNA vice-president. "And we invited businesses that hire graphic design and production students as well as art galleries and stuff like that, to come in and network with them."

Before the show, members of SIFE did a seminar with the artists participating, inviting in guest speakers to teach them about the business side of being an artist.

"We learn it as business students, but the graphic design students don't get taught the business stuff," O'Keefe said.

Halifax event

SIFE teams from different schools compete by presenting the results of their various programs; they're judged by the CEOs of companies.

At a regional competition recently in Halifax at the end of February, the CNA team won in the financial literacy category.

To some extent, the CNA team lives in the shadow of the SIFE Memorial team at MUN, which has won national and international competitions.

O'Keefe said that as a more established team, and with university students spending more years in school than CNA students, Memorial will always have the bigger program.

But the SIFE-CNA chapter is becoming much more active, she said.

"This chapter has been on this campus for about 15 years, but it's really been pretty much inactive," she said. "The president last year kind of took it from the ground level and build a structure."

They hope to expand the Life with SIFE program in the future, and they are running a food drive talent show similar to the Total Exposure program April 7.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: CNA, SIFE-CNA, Total Exposure Free Enterprise MUN

Geographic location: Rabbittown, Halifax

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