A plan for an indigenous tribe in Colombia to capitalise on the medicinal properties of a local plant took out the top spot at a Wellington-run international student business case competition.
Run in partnership with the Victoria Business School's undergraduate international business programme, the Global Enterprise Experience is a competition open to students around the world who work together online to develop a business concept proposal.
Led by students from Victoria and Otago universities, students from 40 countries formed into 90 international teams for the annual contest.
Students were given three weeks to work together online to form a business concept, and then research, design and write a proposal on a profitable product or service of mutual benefit to developed and developing countries.
The winning business concept—Claw for Coruguaje—proposed to work with the Colombian Coruguaje tribe to secure indigenous intellectual property protection of the local cat's claw plant, which has strong health benefits, to generate local jobs, income and education.
Team members Kate Stone (team leader, Victoria University), Alex Le Phuoc Thao Bui (Australia), Maria Luisa Panta Correa (Colombia), Wong Man Sam Samantha and Yuen Kiu Wong (Hong Kong), Koya Joshua (Nigeria) and Tuyishime Moise (Rwanda) each received $1,000 from prize sponsors ANZ.
"The winning report had everything—an awareness of sustainability, commitment to the indigenous people of Colombia, strong economics and good marketing. It demonstrated both the difficulties and the value of a collaborative approach to business," says competition judge MP David Clendon.
Academic Director of the Global Enterprise Experience and member of the School of Marketing and International Business, Associate Professor Val Lindsay, says the real challenge for all the students involved is to work in global partnership.
"Students learn to work alongside people of different nationalities, cultures, and with differing world views. They must overcome issues that face any New Zealand exporter— such as differences in time zones, in language and cultural approach.
"In doing so they develop their leadership skills, their communication skills, their knowledge of different cultural practices and they equip themselves to enter the workforce in a globalised world."
The Global Enterprise Experience initiative began in 2004, set up by Victoria University in partnership with education consultants Te Kaihau Ltd. To date, more than 4,500 students have participated from 155 education organisations in 64 countries around the world.
This year's competition was judged by David Clendon (MP and Greens spokesperson for tertiary education), Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand (former Governor General), Hon Winnie Laban (Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) at Victoria University) and Jo Riley (ANZ Senior Manager).
A full list of 2012 prizes and winners is available online at www.geebiz.org/.