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October 20, 2005
UD SIFE Team Presents Grant to Dubuque Area Business

On Saturday, October 29, members of the University of Dubuque Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team will present a check funded by a Financial Literacy Grant to Dubuque business owner Angela Koppes Eck, proprietor of the interior design firm Inspirations. The check will be presented during halftime of the 1:00 p.m. Spartan football game at Chalmers Field.

With grant funds from SIFE's Financial Literacy Program, members of the UD SIFE team found a young entrepreneur living in the Dubuque area who could use help in strengthening her business. Angela Koppes Eck, proprietor of Inspirations, her own interior design firm, fit the profile perfectly. Inspirations has been Angela's part-time pursuit for the past number of years, but she would now like to move into the design market full-time.

"Our team believes that this was not simply an opportunity for the small business that we selected, but a real life learning tool to experience a business model evolving," stated Andy Koons, SIFE member who spearheaded the project. "The experience gained from acting as consultants to a real business owner further enriched the team's business skills."

Working with Angela, members of the SIFE team were able to analyze the business, and help to pinpoint what methods of marketing would be best to help make the transition from part-time to full-time. They found that with a relatively small amount of money, they were able to find creative and smart ways to help an energetic person expand her business successfully.

"We learned that it does not require huge amounts of capital, or hundreds of hours of 'person-power' to make a difference in someone's dreams," commented Koons. "It's exciting that SIFE is a 'global initiative,' and that projects like this can happen in towns and cities all over the world. It's great to see how teamwork and a small amount of money can give an entrepreneur a whole new confidence in herself and her business."

Founded in 1975, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is a global non-profit organization which works in partnership with business and higher education to provide college students the opportunity to make a difference and to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise. Active on more than 1,200 college and university campuses in 31 countries, SIFE teams work to develop and implement thousands of educational outreach projects in their communities.

Locally, the University of Dubuque team was founded in 2002. Since then, the team has successfully competed at the regional competition winning several awards including runner-up in 2004 and 2005.

UD SIFE members who facilitated this project are Andy Koons, junior accounting major; Jermaine Jackson, junior accounting major; Josh Burgin, junior accounting major; and Michael Kelly first-year MBA student.