Students visit US on commerce tour

The PNBHS Commerce Tour 2014 300x225Palmerston North Boys’ High School hopes to build the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future when it embarks on a commerce tour of the United States later this month.

Forty senior students will leave New Zealand for a series of meetings and presentations by outstanding US companies and tertiary institutes.
What makes this commerce tour even more interesting is that Palmerston North Boys’High School has been able to tap into an extraordinary network of former Kiwis and expat business executives (many who are old boys of the school) and who are now operating companies in the US, from successful start-ups such as Wildfire Interactive (sold to Google Inc.) and Xero, to large Fortune 500 companies.

“There is a huge international resource of New Zealand-grown talent living and working around the globe that were more than willing to offer their advice and make future connections for our young men,” head of commerce at Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Mr Graham Black, says. Mr Black is leading the tour. “It is just a matter of tapping into this resource, which it has taken a team of us around two years to do.”

The school believes that business education must go beyond books and the classroom, and that students should be given the opportunity to experience first-hand what is possible. Catherine Robinson agrees. Catherine, formerly from Wellington, is now based in San Francisco, where she founded the business incubator Kiwi Landing Pad for New Zealand IT and ‘high tech’ companies wanting to establish a presence for themselves in the United States. Catherine believes that there is a tremendous opportunity to sow the seeds of business innovation and entrepreneurship early in one’s career and applauds the approach that the school is taking with the Commerce Tour.

The Kiwi Landing Pad will be one of the stops for the commerce tour in San Francisco.
 For those travelling, this tour is not a case of sitting back and enjoying the hospitality of their hosts; each student member of the commerce tour will be engaged in an ‘Apprentice’ style competition throughout his time in the US. Students have all been allocated into business teams, where they will be set business challenges and Apprentice-styled tasks, and ultimately compete for the Best Young Businessman of the Tour.

Palmerston North Boys’ High School would like to acknowledge the assistance of many local businesses and old boys, without whose help and support this tour would not have happened. The school also acknowledges the support of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, who offered planning support during the early stages and also shares the school’s belief in developing business innovation and entrepreneurship among our emerging New Zealand business talent.

The tour arrives at Los Angeles today, April 16. After meetings and presentations in Southern California, they will then travel to San Francisco before flying to the East Coast where they will visit companies and institutions in New York and Boston. The commerce tour arrives back at New Zealand on Saturday, May 3.

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