High school entrepreneurs to vie for places in trade challenge finals

SND16-wk2-EntrepreneursEighty ambitious young high school entrepreneurs from around the country will compete in the seventh FedEx Express/Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge (FedEx/JA ITC) this Friday, June 12.

They will be hoping to win one of six places in the New Zealand team to compete in the Asia Pacific finals in Singapore.

The FedEx/JA ITC is a forum for aspiring business leaders to gather and develop their business ideas and then take them to the international market.

The group of business-minded 16- to 19-year-olds has been selected to take part in the competition by the Young Enterprise Trust.

Students will be coming from as far north as Kaikohe and as far south as Riverton to Massey University’s Albany campus for an intense weekend that will put their business acumen to the test.

The students will be placed in teams and asked to come up with a market entry strategy challenge in which they only have 20 hours to develop and respond, and which includes a business plan, a product prototype and a multimedia presentation.

The judging panel includes prominent businessman Stefan Lepionka (YET alumni and owner of Charlie’s juice company), entrepreneur Mark Eglinton, Marc Potter (NZ Harvard alumnus), Sunday Star Times business editor Jayne Atherton, and Dianella Ngakuru, FedEx country manager, New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

The panel will assess the presentations and announce a winning team. The winning team will automatically go into the final selection process with additional students being nominated to present individually to a judging panel before a final team of six is selected to go to Singapore in August to represent New Zealand in the FedEx/JA ITC Asia-Pacific regional final.

In Singapore, the students will be split into three teams of two where they will compete against students from eight other Asia Pacific markets, including Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The 2015 winning team will have a lot to live up to. In 2014, the Kiwis won the Asia-Pacific regional final and also came second, placing them among our entrepreneurial elite.

Winning team member Shannon Metcalfe from Auckland’s Avondale College says representing New Zealand in the FedEx/JA ITC final in Hong Kong was a fantastic opportunity that has helped hone her business skills and boost her confidence.

“The FedEx/JA ITC challenge was the most valuable high school experience I could have been offered. The competition has given me the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the most elite entrepreneurs across the globe and hone my business skills having learned from only the best.

“The experience in Hong Kong projected these skills in a diverse global market and it’s so exciting that six young entrepreneurs like me will get the same opportunity this year in Singapore,” Ms Metcalfe said.

Since 2007 the FedEx Express/JA International Trade Challenge in Asia Pacific has benefitted almost 10,000 students in nine Asia Pacific countries, including 560 students from over 200 schools in New Zealand, with invaluable insight into global trade.

FedEx Express has collaborated with the Young Enterprise Trust (YET) since 2009 to provide New Zealand’s outstanding high school students with a meaningful and practical educational platform to help them achieve their fullest potential by exposing them to the benefits of entrepreneurship, business and international trade.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie is the managing editor here at Multimedia Pty Ltd, working across School News New Zealand and School News Australia. She has spent 10+ years in B2B journalism, and has spent some time over the last couple of years teaching as a sessional academic. Feel free to contact her at any time with editorial or magazine content enquiries.
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