Young entrepreneurs win spot at global event

By Ben Chapman-Smith

A team of up-and-coming young business leaders from all over New Zealand has been selected to fly the flag at a global entrepreneurs challenge in Asia.

About 80 teenage students gathered at Massey University in Auckland last weekend where they were set the task of developing a market entry strategy plan to launch an apple-based product into Australia.

Run annually by FedEx and the Young Enterprise Trust, the Junior International Achievement Trade Challenge gives students the chance to learn about international trade and set up a mock business.

Students this year were placed in teams and had a few hours to develop a prototype product or service, write a business plan to support it, and present back in a multi-media format to a judging panel

Business proposals included an apple-based surf wax, an apple butter for allergy sufferers, an organic apple toothpaste that acts a natural bleach with vitamin C, and a supplement made from apple skins.

Judging was based on each teams' plans for marketing, promotion, pricing, inventory and product distribution plans.

Six standout students were chosen to compete against eight other Asia Pacific countries and their 48 representatives in Hong Kong in just over two months' time.

The winning six showed strong entrepreneurship skills and understanding of economic and business concepts, said FedEx country manager Lee Davies.

"Devising a marketing strategy in only a few hours is a tough challenge and we were really impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm demonstrated by the students.

"We have high hopes for them representing New Zealand at the Asia Pacific final in late August," he said.

Before departing for Hong Kong, the six budding entrepreneurs will take part in a two-day training workshop to prepare them for the Asia-Pacific regional final.

The International Trade Challenge, which has so far involved more than 300 students from schools throughout New Zealand, is in its seventh year in Asia Pacific.

A separate event run at the venue during the weekend, called the Global Enterprise Challenge, resulted in the Kiwi team taking out the Asia Pacific title.

The 12-hour event involved a challenge to develop a business proposal to increase tourism visitation and income for a national, regional, or local tourist attraction.

Team New Zealand created a business idea based on wreck diving at the Rena site in the Bay of Plenty, where divers would use coral transplanting technology to re-establish the coral reef.

The Kiwi team picked to compete at the International Trade Challenge in Hong Kong are:

Loren McCarthy, 17, Tauranga Girls' High School
James Rankin, 17, Westlake Boys' High School
Samantha Scott, 17, Taradale High School
Darren Ritchie, 17, Mount Hutt College
James Pearce, 16, Westlake Boys' High School
Emily Vriens, 17, Orewa College

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