SEA CAPE partnered with Young Enterprise and the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Singapore again in January 2019 to create a week-long business challenge experience for ten entrepreneurial secondary school students. The aim of this challenge was to expose young Kiwi entrepreneurs to the exciting opportunities awaiting them in the Southeast Asia region.
Joining forces with the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme, the students heard from the New Zealand High Commissioner, Dr. Jonathan Austin, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) Regional Director for East Asia, Clare Wilson on Singapore-New Zealand history and diplomatic ties as well as New Zealand’s role in the region.
The students also had the opportunity to visit successful global/regional and New Zealand businesses based in Singapore. They spent time at Facebook’s AsiaPac HQ where they had a crash course on blockchain from kiwi company Techemy, heard from Nelson-based creative tech company Shuttlerock, and learned about Grab’s strategies for success in Southeast Asia.
The highlight of the trip was working in teams with students from two Singapore based schools to prepare for the Business Challenge – a dragon’s den-style business pitch competition.
Each of the four teams took up the challenge of creating a business plan for a New Zealand business to expand into the Singapore market. After only 30 hours of preparation, the teams pitched their ideas to the ‘dragons’ – a panel of four judges. The presentations were judged on the depth of their research and innovation, marketing and communications strategies, and application of financial and logistical knowledge that they had acquired during the trip.
Choosing a winner was a tough decision for the judges, but it was Mixtstudio who came out on top with their augmented and virtual reality app, GarbageGone. With a vision to encourage recycling and reduce waste, GarbageGone’s interactive game won the hearts of the judges as well as the audience.
The other teams’ business ideas included; a donation system to encourage healthy eating, a B2B platform to help companies assess and minimize their environmental impact, and an app to help event organisers foster meaningful connections with their attendees.
The Business Challenge trip was a once in a lifetime experience for these high school students. Being exposed to a network of New Zealand, Singaporean and global businesses has strengthened curiosity among the students and opened their eyes to a world of business opportunities between New Zealand and Singapore.
You can read two of our Business Challenge students' reflections of the trip below.