Imagery of Regent people and campus

SIFE Announces Job Creation Initiative

By Rachel Judy | November 15, 2011

Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo and SIFE president Connie Tynes speak with Inside Business reporter Danielle Walker about the initiative.
Photo courtesy of SIFE

Their goal is simple: to encourage small businesses in Hampton Roads to make a positive local economic impact by pledging to add one part- or full-time position over the next six months. This initiative—titled the Plus 1 Jobs Initiative—is being spearheaded by Regent University's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team. It was officially announced Tuesday, Nov. 15, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week activities at the Doubletree Hotel in Virginia Beach.

The Plus 1 Jobs Initiative will encourage small businesses to commit to hire people who are currently unemployed. It was modeled after an initiative in Indianapolis that resulted in 200 new jobs, and the Regent team hopes to top that number.

"We have a lot of our own students who are involved in working for small businesses or are entrepreneurs or small business owners themselves. So, we have a lot of interaction with small businesses in the community already. What I've seen is that a lot of job creation initiatives focus on medium to large size businesses," said Dr. Greg Stone, a professor in the School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship (GLE) and the Regent SIFE advisor. He defines small businesses as ones with five employees or less.

"While the businesses may be small, the volume of them comprises a huge sector. To encourage that sector to hire an employee—someone who is unemployed—can potentially have far greater impact than the major job initiatives that we read about in the paper every day," Stone added.

"Americans are known for their entrepreneurial spirit, which is what Plus 1 is about—entrepreneurs stepping out and taking the risk by hiring one person—full-time preferably but part-time is okay because often that leads to full-time work," said Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo. "Some employers are waiting to hire someone but are looking for a safety net, which Regent will provide them. We will help businesses that become involved in the Plus 1 initiative by giving them visibility and support."

The latest figures show that small businesses create 75 percent of the net new jobs in the U.S. economy, and these businesses make up more than 99.7 percent of all employers, according to a report from the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy.

Small business owner Mike Jackson, a business student in the School of Undergraduate Studies and vice-president of Regent's SIFE team, will be among the first to commit to hiring over the next six months. Jackson is also credited with proposing the idea to the team.

"Regent SIFE is founded on the principal of helping entrepreneurs and small business owners greatly impact their communities through enterprising activities," Jackson explained. "The Plus 1 initiative provides a way for small business owners to impact their community one person, one hire at a time."

Looking at the high national unemployment rate, Jackson wants his office cleaning business to help others, not only by providing service but also by providing jobs. "I started my business with hopes of employing many motivated people looking to somehow better their and their family's livelihood," he said. "As my business grows, the greater the impact is for my business and the community."

On February 13, Regent will hold a career fair for area entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for qualified employees. The six-month initiative will culminate in June 2012 at the annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards sponsored by Inside Business and GLE to honor Hampton Roads entrepreneurs.


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