Nov 1, 2012    #138
Contact: John Martellaro

UMKC SIFE Is No More; Welcome Enactus

Entrepreneurial student group reflects global focus

At a recent special event held at the Kauffman Foundation, the UMKC Students in Free Enterprise team made an announcement that surprised the audience.

The event, which is held annually after the team's yearly trip to China, served as both a debriefing about the China trip as well as a forum for the team's unexpected announcement.

The surprise came when SIFE Advisor and Sam Walton Fellow Cary Clark took the podium and stated "Effective immediately, there will no longer be a SIFE Team at UMKC!" For effect, he removed the SIFE pin from his suit coat lapel.

Immediately following a somewhat confused reaction from the audience, a Power Point slide appeared with a logo featuring the word Enactus.

What does it all mean? Clark tells the story.

"Over the past seven years, UMKC SIFE has become a well-recognized name in our community. Team successes and awards have allowed UMKC SIFE to be a well-recognized name nationally and internationally. Throughout the years Students in Free Enterprise seemed to be an appropriate name for this U.S.-focused program," Clark explained. But with today's global economy, SIFE has become a world-wide program, with teams at universities in 38 countries.

This global status brought about a worldwide strategic review to see how well the core philosophies were being reflected in the SIFE name and brand. It found that students had a clear view of their sense of purpose and how human progress depends on their ability to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and abilities.

However, the consensus was that the SIFE name and brand did not effectively express this to the general public on a global basis, and the name did not translate well in all cultures.

This presented a challenge: change the name to better reflect the purpose and values that make the organization so unique. The change would not reflect a change in focus, but a renewed commitment to entrepreneurial action, and to enabling progress around the world.

Therefore, SIFE will now be known under a new name: Enactus.

"Enactus articulates entrepreneurship, action and commitment from a worldwide collection of students," Clark said. "It is a name that proactively articulates the core values of the organization. It is a name that has a shared meaning around the world."

Beginning immediately, UMKC Enactus students will embark upon a very aggressive marketing and re-branding program on campus and throughout the city.

Clark asked the Kansas City community to help support the students by word of mouth and helping spread the word and mission through all available channels.

That wasn't the only excitement in the evening's program. Guest speakers, including Councilman Scott Wagner, Vice President John Phillips of the Edgar Snow Foundation, Dean Teng-Kee Tan of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton discussed the recent China trip.

Since 2009, the multidisciplinary team has taken its entrepreneurial skills to China, where they have helped Chinese students interested in studying in the U.S. learn about the culture and education process.

This year, the team was invited to join the City of Kansas City in helping market business opportunities with Kansas City businesses. The team's expertise and connections with future Chinese leaders made them a natural partner for the city.

The opportunity for this partnership came when invitations were received by both the team and the city from the Edgar Snow Foundation, named after the historic Kansas City journalist who is considered the first westerner to open the doors to China. The foundation invited them to their 15th Symposium, "The People-to-People Exchange: Innovation, Friendship, Harmony," held on the campus of Beijing University.

While there, the team hosted forums on "American Business Practices and Culture" for students at three top Chinese universities. At each forum, interest in doing business in Kansas City generated inquiries for the city to send information.

Enactus Fast Facts:

  • Years on the UMKC campus: 7
  • Number of students on team in 2007: 12
  • Number of students on the team today: 96
  • Disciplines represented: 9
  • Regional Championships: Five in a row, since 2008
  • Trips to China: 4

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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