SIFE project finalist in business plan competition

A Northwestern College Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) project is a finalist in the 2007 Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition. Northwestern students Alla Miroshnychenko and Andrew Wismer and Dr. Mike Avery, assistant professor of business and economics, will present their proposal for a developing business enterprise, Teach a Man to Fish, at the competition on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines on Friday, March 2.

Teach a Man to Fish, which aims to manufacture and distribute self-sustaining aquaculture kits that would enable families in developing nations to raise fish and grow vegetables, is among 12 regional winners in the competition. At the state level, three winning proposals will be awarded $5,000 each.

Teach a Man to Fish is the result of over three years of research, development and experimentation. The Northwestern group has developed a prototype that requires only sunlight and water, operating on a 12-volt solar system. SIFE seeks to sell 50 of the kits this year to relief agencies for less than $550 apiece.

Representatives of Northwestern’s SIFE team will travel to Moldova and Romania this summer to work with a mission organization in providing kits to selected recipients. Talks are also under way with agencies regarding test marketing in Kenya and Uganda.

The goal, say the students, is to feed the hungry. In doing so, recipients will have the opportunity to become economically self-sufficient as their time will be freed up to seek employment. Recipients may choose to sell some of their food or set up spawning tanks to provide fish for other systems.

Sponsored by John Pappajohn and Equity Dynamics Inc., the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition is intended for Iowa college students with an interest in starting their own business. Plans are judged by the potential investors based on their content and viability.