– Florida Tech’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) chapter has earned the competitive, nationwide SIFE “I Choose” grant. The grant is funded by the Bernie
Marcus Foundation to promote high-tech entrepreneurship among high school students. Marcus is a co-founder of Home Depot.
This spring, the SIFE chapter’s graduate and undergraduate students will use proceeds from the grant to help Space Coast high school and middle school
students commercialize their science research projects. The grant also will provide seed funding for launching Secure Systems, LLC, the SIFE chapter’s
high-tech company. The entrepreneurial start-up, already recognized by local industry, aims to eradicate ID theft using innovative, patented wireless
Florida Tech SIFE chapter students are led by advisor and Sam Walton Fellow Dr. Carmo D’Cruz, associate professor of engineering systems. The students will
work with other department faculty and local entrepreneurs to develop prototypes and a business plan, and participate in local, statewide and national
business plan competitions.
“We have an innovative high-tech business idea with tremendous demand and high-growth potential. We have an experienced team of students with industry
experience who can succeed in any competition,” said D’Cruz. The Florida Tech SIFE chapter already has forged ties with middle school and high school
students participating in Brevard County science fairs, including high school students from the Future Business Leaders of America Clubs.
Among others, relationships have formed with students and teachers from Cocoa Beach Junior/Senior High School, Satellite High School, Bayside High School,
Ascension Catholic School, West Shore Junior/Senior High School, Palm Bay High School, Titusville High School, Melbourne Central Catholic School, McNair
Magnet School and Stone Middle School.
Students from these schools have been invited to exhibit projects alongside Florida Tech students in the university’s Student Design Showcase on April 14.
They also have been invited to attend a technology commercialization workshop at Florida Tech. “Florida Tech is committed to encouraging relevant science
research among these students,” said D’Cruz.
The SIFE organization is a global non-profit organization active in more than 40 countries. It is funded by contributions from corporations, foundations,
government agencies, entrepreneurs and other individuals. The community outreach teams that form on university campuses are challenged to inspire high
school and middle school students about free market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business ethics.