Enterprising HPU team qualifies for nationals in competition
NEITHER of them is named David, but Luke Tucker and Akiva Sutta-Gomez have captured the "giant killer" moniker first bestowed on a Hawaii Pacific University team in the Students In Free Enterprise competition in 2000.
Team HPU won the regional SIFE championship for League Two on Friday in San Mateo, Calif., and will be advancing to the national championship in Kansas City, Mo., next month.
Giant killers? Who did they beat? Is this another George Mason University-making-it-to-the-Final-Four situation?
HPU beat the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, California State University East Bay in Hayward and the combined forces of St. Benedict and St. John's University of Collegeville, Minn. -- not exactly giants "though their teams were huge," said Ken Schoolland, HPU associate professor of economics and political science. He is also the HPU team's faculty adviser.
"For all these teams at least a dozen people came for the competition ... and here we came with just two people and still swept all the honors. We felt really pleased about that," Schoolland said.
Six years ago, an HPU team first felled a giant by defeating a team from Northern Arizona University in a SIFE competition.
This time around, HPU's prizes totaled $4,000 for the championship and special competitions in business ethics, success skills, financial literacy, market economics and program sustainability.
Tucker and Sutta-Gomez and fellow student Andrew Sanchez worked on the stock market simulation that won the financial literacy award. HPU's international population was well-represented by the trio, since Sanchez is from Ecuador, Sutta-Gomez is from Israel and Tucker is from exotic Idaho.
Student teams have to show that they have executed a range of projects, relating to starting a business, business consulting and business and/or economic education. The SIFE Web site indicates judges review how effectively a team measured and demonstrated that it created economic opportunity by helping others.
One project the judges liked was a "Biz Kids" project conducted at Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School in Kaimuki. The HPU team worked with 6th graders on starting a business. The kids decided to make and sell friendship bracelets, so they learned planning, design, production, marketing and -- on the fourth day -- the finance part where they tallied sales and figured out which team won. The program is underway at Waimanalo Elementary School this week.
"The kids really like it because it's a hands-on project. The kids learn that they really can start businesses. They also look up a lot to the college students ... and it gives them a lot of incentive to start shooting for college themselves," Schoolland said.
The team is looking at developing business education programs for schools in India, where the "Biz Kids" program could be used in elementary schools as a way of fostering import-export activities to provide income for textbooks, computers and other school needs. For the high school level, a stock-market education program is being considered.
"If they're able to become self-sustaining, then we'd feel we've accomplished a very useful thing," he said.
Abut 250 schools compete at the national level and then it's on to the world SIFE cup, where the U.S. winner will compete against more than 40 nations, from Albania to Zimbabwe. Stop smirking. Zimbabwe won last year!
Not the retiring type?
It's time again to honor hard-working kupuna.
National nonprofit Experience Works has started its annual search for the most outstanding older worker in the state of Hawaii -- and in those other states, too. A national winner will be singled out, and so will outstanding employers of older workers.
Experience Works is the country's largest training and employment organization for older workers, the most outstanding of which will be feted in Washington, D.C., in September.
Applicants must be at least 65, a Hawaii resident, currently working at least 20 hours a week for pay -- and able to travel to D.C.
Recent winners have included James H. Case, attorney and partner for Carlsmith Ball LLP in Honolulu; Finance Factors Ltd. co-founder Daniel B. T. Lau; Faith Nakano, of the medical records department at Shriners Hospital for Children; and James S. L. Yee, First Hawaiian Bank audit division assistant vice president.
Nomination forms and other information are available online at www.experienceworks.org or by calling toll free: (866) 397-9757 (EXP-WRKS).
The nomination deadline is May 31.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com