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Formation 1975
Type NGO
Purpose To enable progress through entrepreneurial action.
Headquarters Springfield, Missouri
Region served
36 Countries Worldwide
Official language
President & CEO
Alvin Rohrs
Website www.enactus.org

Enactus, known before October 2012 as Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. Participating students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. An annual series of regional and national competitions provides a forum for teams to present the results of their projects, and to be evaluated by business leaders serving as judges. National champion teams advance to the Enactus World Cup. In addition to the community aspect of the program, Enactus leadership and career initiatives create opportunities for learning and exchange among the participants as well as the placement of students and alumni with companies in search of emerging talent.

Enactus (SIFE) also serves as a "low-cost" source of entry-level managerial talent, especially for sponsoring retail companies like Walmart who subscribe to the management philosophy of "servant leadership." Bethany Moreton’s book in 2009, "To Serve God and Walmart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise,"[1] provided a fascinating account of Walmart’s history and its relationship to SIFE. Especially noteworthy was SIFE's role in Walmart's “complex network that united Sun Belt entrepreneurs, evangelical employees, Christian business students, overseas missionaries, and free-market activists.”


Originally SIFE, Enactus was founded in 1975 to use the entrepreneurial spirit to change people's lives. Since its founding, it has become an international organization with 36 different country operations.[2] In 2012, the name was changed to Enactus to convey the organization's unique nature. There is really no other program like Enactus, so the name change reflected that.[3] The new name is a combination of three words. "En" comes from the word entrepreneurial, representing that Enactus members see opportunity in everyday surroundings. "Act" comes from action, because members show willingness and commitment to see things through. "Us" represents that Enactus is a group of people, connected as a part of a greater whole. Together Enactus is "A community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world."[4]

SIFE has not been without controversy. Well-respected labor historian, Dr. Nelson Lichtenstein, author of "The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business," has called SIFE a "front organization for Walmart."[5] Also, in March 2014, a former SIFE faculty adviser from California State University, Chico, professor Curt DeBerg,[6] published a book entitled "How High Is Up? The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of a Sam M. Walton SIFE Fellow.[7] The review from Amazon states: "Sponsored by Wal-Mart and other corporations, Students in Free Enterprise holds competitions throughout the world for university student teams. The author, advising a SIFE team in California, discovers that some teams received awards without entering. He documents other faults with the organization; subsequently, he founds a new organization targeting innovative teens. His program, unlike SIFE, encourages teens to become entrepreneurs. This book tells the story of student achievement, corporate hanky-panky, and one man who stood up to powerful leaders of business trying to stop him."

Operating model[edit]

Enactus projects are undertaken by student teams of more than 1,600 university campuses in 36 countries. Enactus offers these 66,500 students the opportunity to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise, in hopes of improving the standard of living for millions in the process. Guided by distinguished faculty advisors and supported by businesses around the globe, Enactus teams teach important concepts through educational outreach projects, including market economics, entrepreneurship, personal and financial success and business ethics to better themselves, their communities and their countries. Each year, Enactus competitions are held worldwide, drawing together thousands of students and business leaders to pay tribute to these educational outreach projects.[8]


The Enactus year ends with the overall competition. This process provides teams with the opportunity to present their outreach projects to a panel of judges who evaluate those projects and determine which teams had the most impact improving the quality of life and standard of living for members of their community.

This competitive process creates a "best-practice" sharing environment and is aimed at fostering a healthy spirit of competition, which encourages and rewards excellence.

Every country that operates an Enactus, at minimum, organizes a national competition, from which one institution will be named national champion and advance to compete at the Enactus World Cup. Countries that operate large Enactus programmes may host a series of regional competitions to narrow down the number of teams eligible to compete at their national competition.

In every country around the world, and at each level of the overall competition, the format, rules and judging criteria remain the same.[9]

Enactus World Cup Champions 1999 - 2013
1999 California State University, Chico
2000 Texas State University
2001 Drury University
2002 La Sierra University
2003 Drury University
2004 Curtin University of Technology
2005 University of Zimbabwe
2006 Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade
2007 La Sierra University [10]
2008 Memorial University of Newfoundland
2009 French University in Egypt (UFE)
2010 French University in Egypt (UFE)
2011 University of Regensburg
2012 Belmont University
2013 Technical University Munich

Judging criteria[edit]

Central to the competitions are the criteria to which each team is judged. These remain the same throughout the world.:[11]

Which Enactus team most effectively used entrepreneurial action to empower people to improve their livelihoods in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way?

The previous Enactus criteria were as follows: How effectively did the Enactus team measure and demonstrate that it created economic opportunity by helping others:

  1. Understand how a market based economic system operates.
  2. Acquire the education and skills training needed to succeed in a dynamic, competitive global economy.
  3. Learn how to succeed as an entrepreneur and/or improve an existing business.
  4. Develop the personal financial management skills ne cessary to achieve financial independence.
  5. Make environmentally sustainable personal and business decisions.
  6. Understand that the long-term success and prosperity of a market economy, businesses and individuals are dependent on ethical business practices.
  7. How successfully did the team develop and execute a strategy to ensure the long-term sustainability of their team and educational programs.

List of Participating Countries[edit]

  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Korea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Puerto Rico
  • Russia
  • Senegal
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • Tajikistan
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Zimbabwe


Partners and donors[edit]

Enactus holds several high-profile partnerships, such as Walmart, Sam's Club, Unilever, KPMG, Dell and Coca-Cola, including many more. Enactus partners include corporations, organizations and individuals' foundations.


Enactus is governed by a group of board members that includes senior leaders from a diverse range of industries and companies that support Enactus.

The Enactus World Headquarters operations are led by a staff of more than 60. In addition to the World Headquarters team, more than 100 other staff manage the day-to-day operations of each Enactus country.


At the Enactus World Cup on 30 September 2012, SIFE announced that it would now be called Enactus. The new name was supposedly established to create a clearer brand image and "reaffirm its long-standing commitment to using entrepreneurial action as a catalyst for progress. According to Alvin Rohrs, the Enactus CEO, "There's really nothing else quite like it. . . We needed a name that reflected that uniqueness. Something that captured the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels everything we do." [13]


  1. ^ http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674057401
  2. ^ http://enactus.org/who-we-are/our-story/
  3. ^ http://enactus.org/sife-changes-their-name-to-highlight-a-deep-commitment-to-entrepreneurial-action/#.U9kEVvldVUk
  4. ^ http://enactus.org/who-we-are/our-story/
  5. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Retail-Revolution-Wal-Mart-Business/dp/0312429681
  6. ^ http://curtdeberg.com
  7. ^ http://www.amazon.com/High-Rise-Redemption-Walton-Fellow/dp/1937748030/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394236737&sr=8-1&keywords=how+high+is+up%3F+deberg
  8. ^ http://enactus.org/who-we-are/our-story/
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ https://login.enactus.org/aboutsife/News/Pages/LaSierraUniversityWinsSIFEWorldCup2007.aspx
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ http://enactus.org/
  13. ^ http://enactus.org/rebranding/sife-changes-their-name-to-highlight-a-deep-commitment-to-entrepreneurial-action/#.UGmEy1n9Gp0

External links[edit]