During the April school holidays SEA CAPE, in partnership with Young Enterprise, took a group of 12 entrepreneurial secondary school students to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam as part of the Business Challenge programme.
The week-long experience in the Vietnamese capital exposed these young Kiwis to the opportunities awaiting them outside of school and in the Southeast Asia region.
After an introduction to the Vietnam Business Environment from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise business development manager, Steve Le, the group made their way to the Australian International School where they joined forces with 10 Vietnamese students who would join them in some of the week’s activities, including the business challenge. The students were fortunate to be welcomed to AIS by NZ ambassador to Vietnam, Wendy Matthews.
Throughout the week, the students visited large international corporations such as KPMG, Intercontinental Hotel and Intel, as well as successful Vietnamese businesses like SAN HA Foods, the social enterprise KOTO (Know One Teach One) and Tale City – a travel tech and media startup. The students had the chance to conduct their own market research at supermarkets in the capital. This involved visiting a number of local supermarkets to analyse the branding, placement and pricing of NZ products and prepare a brief about other NZ products that could be marketed to Vietnamese consumers.
The week’s activities culminated in a Dragon’s Den-style Business Challenge. Together with their Vietnamese counterparts, the students formed five teams representing the education, tourism, manufacturing, food & beverage and technology sectors. Each team was asked to draw on their knowledge of Vietnam to come up with a company and product to introduce to the Vietnamese market. They pitched their ideas to ‘the dragons’ – a panel of judges including a PWC director, a local entrepreneur and a senior manager from a large local bank.
Their ideas included; a food & beverage marketing and branding consultancy, an educational study tour operator, a health & safety app for street food and a water-filtering straw to create drinkable tap water.
First place went to the manufacturing team who impressed the judges with their clever idea based off of the co-working office space concept. They proposed building a co-working manufacturing plant with multi-purpose machinery to cater to small New Zealand businesses