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Two Global Awards For NZ Kids

28 June 2002

The success of New Zealand students in two recent global Enterprise competitions supported by Industry New Zealand bodes well for our future economic prosperity, says Neil Mackay, CEO of Industry New Zealand.

“The outstanding achievements of New Zealand students at the global Enterprise Olympics and International Future Problem Solving competition is evidence our youth can foot it with the best overseas,” says Mr Mackay.

New Zealand was the winner of the global Enterprise Olympics where secondary students competed against the best Enterprise students in the world. Industry New Zealand provided sponsorship of the event and mentoring support to the winning students.

“We sent some of our key Business Development Advisors to the Enterprise Olympics to act as mentors for the students. The advisors were so well received we have decided to set up a permanent mentoring programme for some of the New Zealand students involved in the Enterprise Olympics,” says Claire Johnstone, General Manager Central Region, Industry New Zealand.

The mentoring programme will enable the students to accompany Industry New Zealand Business Development Advisors on their daily visits to small and medium sized businesses.

In addition, funding given under Industry New Zealand’s Enterprise Culture and Skills Activities Fund enabled a group of 13 to 15 year old Auckland girls to travel to the USA to compete in the International Future Problem Solving competition. The ‘Shore Problem Solvers’ were placed second in the competition – beating over 2000 students from countries around the world.

“It’s about encouraging a new generation of thinkers to have good ideas and giving them the confidence and skills to turn these ideas into a commercial success. We believe in stimulating entrepreneurship at a grassroots level so our young people develop a healthy attitude towards enterprise and business success”, says Mr Mackay.

“It’s very rewarding knowing we have 13 year old girls in this country that can take on the best business problem solving students in the world on the subject of Virtual Corporations, and receive top honour awards for their efforts.

“The Shore Future Problem Solvers and the winning Enterprise Olympics team are excellent role models - helping promote positive ‘can do’ attitudes and enterprising behaviours among New Zealanders”.

The Enterprise Olympics, which finished at 2.30am yesterday, is an international competition designed to test students entrepreneurial, creative, and innovation skills. High School students from nine countries including New Zealand, the United States, Russia, Spain, South Africa, England, Scotland and Wales competed against each other over a 24 hour period.

“The New Zealand team’s result at the global Enterprise Olympics demonstrates just what our young people can achieve if they learn the right type of skills and receive plenty of encouragement,” says Ms Johnstone.

Mr Mackay says “Due to our many different support programmes and relationships with private and public sectors we are now seeing a change in New Zealanders’ perception towards enterprise where business is seen as a positive contributor to society and a worthwhile career aspiration for students.

“Too many New Zealand businesses fail by not commercialising good ideas. They have the talent – they just need support in how to make money from it – and that’s where Industry New Zealand can help,” says Mr Mackay.

The Enterprise Olympic 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 winning New Zealand team at the Enterprise Olympics 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.

The winning team has been invited to Washington later in the year to present their business plan at the International Partnership Network Conference. Robert Linterman, Industry New Zealand Business Development Advisor for the Central Region will be working with the students to commercialise the Hug-a-Bear product. Profits from the sales will assist in fundraising for the trip to Washington.

The winning Enterprise Olympics 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.

In the two major Future Problem Solving competition categories, the Shore Problem Solvers were placed second in the formal written presentation and second in the oral presentation - making them the most successful team in their division. The winning team consisted of: Josie Wells (13), Long Bay College; and Julianne Falconer (15), Libby Pound (14), and Courtney Sutherland (14) of Rangitoto College. The Future Problem Solving Programme engages students in creative problem solving and stimulates critical and creative thinking skills. The program is designed to encourage students to develop a vision for the future.

Industry New Zealand’s Enterprise Culture and Skills Activities Fund recently awarded $1.7 million towards projects which help stimulate business success among young people. The Fund has been set up to help develop a culture in education that encourages positive attitudes and skills for entrepreneurship, business growth, and business success.


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