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Laying the foundations for Pasifika enterprise

Laying the foundations for Pasifika business enterprise

Next week 49 Pasifika business entrepreneurs will strive to impress a panel of judges to claim over $28,000 of prizes and tertiary study scholarships.

The inaugural Plantation Business Challenge 2008, which has grown substantially since its inception in 2005, will pit 12 teams from 10 South Auckland schools against each other in a five-day business competition.

The teams will create and present business projects to judges who will asses them against a set of real-world criteria, such as competitive advantage and financial planning.

Event hosts Pacific Business Trust (PBT), AUT University and Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) will coach students through a series of workshops as they create and develop their concepts. Pasifika business leaders and senior lecturers will advise on marketing, research, finance, HR and contingency planning.

AUT is contributing a scholarship worth up to $15,000 to study business at the university.

AUT Office of Pasifika Advancement Director Pauline Winter says the aim of the Challenge is to give Pasifika students the opportunity to be exposed to enterprise culture and the business world, something they might not experience otherwise.

"We want to show them what business is all about, and tear down some of the myths around business and who can take part in it. These students aren't necessarily the sons and daughters of business people, so they might not have realised it's something they can partake in," she says.

Winter says the Challenge ends up being a real growth experience for the students.

"They receive business mentoring and get exposure to current Pasifika business leaders, which in turn gives them the confidence to learn and use entrepreneurial skills that could help them to set up their own business venture in the future."

Recruitment Relationship Manager Linda Strickson-Pua says the Challenge is unique in that it brings together AUT, MIT and the PBT to lay the foundations for Pasifika business enterprise.
"Now we are in our fourth year and we have higher numbers than ever before. We hope these students will go on to develop into tomorrow's Pasifika business leaders."

MIT will present four scholarships valued between $2000 and $3000 for study at MIT.

Competing schools include:
• Aorere College
• Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate
• Edgewater College
• De La Salle College
• Mangere College
• Manurewa High School
• McAuley College
• Otahuhu High School
• Papatoetoe High School
• Tangaroa College

The students will attend workshops as follows:
MIT Monday September 29
AUT University Tuesday September 30
Pacific Business Trust Wednesday October 1

Final presentations and prize giving:
Pacific Business Trust Tuesday October 7

Manukau City Council is the main event sponsor. Other Challenge stakeholders are Pacific Business Trust, Manukau Institute of Technology and AUT University.


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