New Zealand’s entrepreneurial future looks promising following the results of the regional heat of the FedEx/ Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge (ITC) held at Massey University’s Albany Campus over the weekend. Today, FedEx and Young Enterprise Trust announced six finalists, chosen to represent New Zealand at the 2011 Asia Pacific FedEx / Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge in Bangkok from August 24 – 26.
The New Zealand representatives will be competing for the coveted title of Asia Pacific champions alongside seven other Asia Pacific countries, and their 42 representatives. They include:
Lucy Campion (17 years old) – St Cuthberts College, Auckland
Jaden Milligan (17 years old) – Christchurch Boys High School, Christchurch
Jake Mickleson (18 years old)– John Paul College, Rotorua
Tehya Reardon (16 years old) – St Cuthberts College, Auckland
Sam Mackwell (16 years old) – St Thomas of Canterbury College, Christchurch
Benjamin Reynolds (17years old)– Westlake Boys High School, Auckland
The response to the local competition was extremely positive with 74 top high school students participating. These students were set the task of producing a wool based product and developing a market strategy to export that product to Sweden. After a grueling Saturday, the budding entrepreneurs aged between 16-19, presented ideas to the judging panel in hope of making the final six. Business proposals ranged from ‘Woolpaper’; a wallpaper that doubles as insulation while also being fire resistant, to woolen gloves made with a fabric that enables people to use their smart phones with their gloves on. Given the Swedish have a reputation for loving the ‘great outdoors’, groups also recommended a merino tent liner that regulates the tents temperature and a biodegradable fuel canister for camp cookers.
The two finalist teams of three students each were selected by votes from FedEx Express mentors, staff from Young Enterprise Trust, corporate hosts of the nine student teams and the students themselves. Terry Shubkin, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Trust, said these six students were selected based upon the judge’s observations, mentor feedback and student voting.
Lee Davies, FedEx country manager, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, and one of the five judges, said there was a high standard of innovation and content from every team.
“There is exceptional talent emerging through the next generation of entrepreneurs. Not only were we all impressed by the immense creativity of these young students but also their exceptional team work,” said Mr. Davies. He continued, “The students come from all over the country and are placed in a nerve-racking environment and required to work under enormous pressure. They are not only faced with the business challenge but also coping with new group dynamics”. They all worked very professionally and made high-quality decisions which, given the time constraint, was really pleasing to see”.
The six finalists will regroup in early August for the FedEx/ Junior Achievement ITC Weekend Workshop, where they will develop a uniquely New Zealand product and prepare to market it to the world. The students will be mentored by experts from various disciplines in preparation for the week-long regional competition in Bangkok in August.
The International Trade Challenge is in its fifth year in Asia Pacific and this is the third year FedEx is sponsoring the program in New Zealand. FedEx sponsorship has provided 4,344 students in nine Asia Pacific countries, including 152 students from 120 schools in New Zealand, with invaluable insight into global trade.