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NZ Wins Enterprise Olympics

A team of New Zealand secondary school students have won the global Enterprise Olympics which finished at 2.30am this morning.

The students competed against the best Enterprise students in the world over a 24 hour period - beating opponents from eight different countries including the United States, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Wales, Scotland, and England.

The event was organised by Enterprise New Zealand Trust and Venture Taranaki and sponsored by Industry New Zealand, TSB Community Trust, Telecom New Zealand, The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme, and a variety of other local and national companies.

The winning team developed a product called 'Hug-a-Bear' designed to educate young children on environmental matters. The product line, made from New Zealand wool, includes a story book, bag and range of accessories. Each furry member of the Hug-a-Bear family represents an environmental theme such as deforestation and global warming.

"We are absolutely delighted with the result. We knew our students would be hard to beat so I guess it was just a matter of proving it says Ken Baker, CEO, Enterprise New Zealand Trust.

The Enterprise Olympics is an important part in our quest to develop students with the type of skills needed for the future. During the Olympics the students learnt how to work in teams, negotiate, become results focused, and discovered how failure can become an opportunity," says Mr Baker.

The Enterprise Olympics is an international competition designed to test students entrepreneurial, creative, and innovation skills. Students were asked to develop a working model of an educational toy or game on a global environmental theme using only local recyclable materials. The project included presenting a business plan and oral presentation.

The winning team consisted of students from secondary schools throughout New Zealand: Charlene Bills, Hawera High School; Lesieli Prescott, Massey High School in Auckland; Carlos Bagrie, James Hargest High School in Invercargill; Blair Howarth, New Plymouth Boys High School; Angela Bocock and Kate Walton, New Plymouth Girls High School; Bridget Mooney, Sacred Heart College in New Plymouth; and Holly Silver, Gisborne Girls High School.

The New Zealand event was opened by Rt Hon Helen Clark and Telecom CEO, Theresa Gattung on Monday.

Stuart Trundle, CEO Venture Taranaki, says: "The Enterprise Olympics has been an extremely exciting event which the whole region has got behind. We see the Enterprise Olympics as a fantastic opportunity to celebrate excellence and benchmark our entrepreneurial skills against global competition. As we've now demonstrated - we can easily 'out-enterprise' the rest of the world", says Mr Trundle.

Claire Johnstone, General Manager Industry New Zealand Central Region says: "Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential for our future economic prosperity. The outcome in the Olympics is very encouraging and shows our students can excel in business when given the right type of training and encouragement".

A group of Industry New Zealand Business Development Advisers attended the event to act as mentors and share their expertise with the participants.

Ten teams of eight students from schools throughout New Zealand had 12 hours to compete against each other to win the privilege of representing New Zealand in the international division of the Olympics. The international division of the Olympics was held two hours after the New Zealand national heats. The New Zealand students competed remotely via Video Conference from the City Council Chambers in New Plymouth.

The international judging panel consisted of astronauts and high level personnel from NASA comprising:- * Douglas Cooke - Head of Mars Exploration * Kevin Mellet - Engineer and Rocket Scientist * George Abbey - Director of Johnson Space Station * Richard Linnehan - Astronaut

The panel of national judges chaired by Guy Ockenden, National Director, Enterprise New Zealand Trust, were: Stuart Trundle, CEO, Venture Taranaki; Paul Butterworth, Acting Chairman, TSB Community Trust; Claire Johnstone, General Manager Central Region, Industry New Zealand; and Dai Jeremiah, Regional Manager, Telecom New Zealand Limited. The Enterprise Olympics was open to all High School students who participate in the Young Enterprise Scheme administered by Enterprise New Zealand Trust.

For further information contact: * Guy Ockenden, National Director and Acting CEO, Enterprise New Zealand Trust Ph: 04) 570 0452 Email:guy.ockenden@enzt.co.nz

* Stuart Trundle, Chief Executive, Venture Taranaki Ph: 06) 759 5150 Email: ceo@venture.org.nz

* Claire Johnstone, General Manager Central Region, Industry New Zealand Ph: 04) 910 4642 Email: claire.johnstone@industrynz.govt.nz

Sender: Erin Leigh Ph 04 499 9111


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