NZ Students Win International Trade Challenge
New Zealand Students Win FedEx/JA Regional International Trade Challenge
SINGAPORE, August 7, 2009 – After a grueling three-day test of their business acumen, analytical capabilities and mental strength, a teenage duo from New Zealand today won the FedEx Express®/Junior Achievement™ International Trade Challenge (ITC) regional finals, a competition aimed at nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and business skills of students in the Asia-Pacific region.
Following a two-day intensive workshop, the students -- Paul Minors and Charles Slogrove, won over the panel of judges with their unique interpretation of this year’s challenge: to come up with a market entry strategy for exporting carpets to Egypt.
Their idea was designed to appeal to the majority Muslim population in Egypt, a traditional Egyptian rug with inbuilt radio for prayer call, a lunar clock to determine the correct time to pray, a compass which shows the correct direction of Mecca, and a carry strap for easy mobility.
Jointly organised by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, and U.S.-based JA Worldwide®, the world’s largest organisation dedicated to preparing youths for the working world, the ITC was launched in 2007 and is supported by a US$1million grant from FedEx over a three-year period involving markets in the Asia Pacific region.
This year, forty-two students between 16 – 19 years of age from Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand were selected to represent their markets at the regional final in Singapore after competing at the local challenge in their respective home markets.
The winning teams were selected based on two main criteria: content and presentation. They were scored on their thoroughness, creativity and professionalism in developing and executing their business entry strategy.
New Zealand also took out second place with students Talman Madsen and Aimee Groom’s concept of modular carpets made of high-grade New Zealand wool with a thin, non-slip polymer backing. Each carpet was presented in a pack of six modular pieces in different shapes and colours that could be fitted together to make one large carpet or used separately.
The carpets were produced in New Zealand in limited edition, using designs created by modern Egyptian artists, or could be customized to a preferred colour scheme.
Third place went to the duo from Australia -- Jade Sewell-Robertson and Lauren Flint -- who came up with the unique ‘Bamboozler’ carpet.
While they acknowledged that Egypt was renowned worldwide for producing magnificent cotton carpets, the Bamboozler was a unique product made from woven bamboo fibres, fabricated for indoor/outdoor use, and easily transformed for use as an all-weather shelter or room divider. And, with the addition of bamboo rods and hooks it could be converted into a lean-to.
“The new ideas and innovations that entrepreneurs bring to the marketplace are crucial to building strong, resilient economies. FedEx support of the International Trade Challenge is part of our commitment to educate and nurture the next generation of business leaders who will be important contributors to this region’s future growth,” said David L. Cunningham Jr., president, Asia-Pacific, FedEx Express. “The finalists in this year’s competition truly exhibited teamwork, leadership and innovative thinking that will help them drive success in a dynamic business world where opportunities abound.”
“FedEx recognizes that entrepreneurs play an important role in the global economy and even more so during an economic downturn. The International Trade Challenge is part of FedEx commitment to educate and inspire young people to become next-generation entrepreneurs by honing their creative, analytical and critical thinking skills to excel in an international business environment,” said David Ross, regional vice- president, FedEx South Pacific. “The challenge gives these young people a first-hand experience in planning for a business and learning what it takes to deliver their products to the right place at the right time. We are impressed by the passion and creativity of the students and the quality of the business entry strategies presented.”
Sean C. Rush, president and chief executive officer of JA Worldwide, added, “Junior Achievement’s long track record of teaching young entrepreneurs how to succeed is vividly brought to life by the student participants in the International Trade Challenge. These JA students are learning how to position their enterprises for success in the global economy and are building a network which they can leverage to expand their organization’s footprint. FedEx is an important partner of JA Worldwide in helping these young business owners succeed now and as they start or join new businesses in the future.”
The Challenge which is in its third year, attracted a total of 1690 students from Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Korea, Singapore and Thailand, who participated in the ITC workshops from April to June 2009 where FedEx employees volunteered their time to coach the students and facilitate business lessons.