The Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence's Tertiary Market Immersion Programme (TMIP) took place from 3-9 July 2021. Fifteen tertiary students from four of New Zealand’s tertiary institutes took part in a competitive selection process to gain a place on the programme.
TMIP is unique as it is a cross-tertiary institute and cross-discipline programme for New Zealand tertiary students. Normally delivered in Southeast Asia, the TMIP 2021 programme was delivered domestically in Nelson and Christchurch, due to Covid-19 and border closures.
The objective of this year's TMIP was to provide an opportunity for New Zealand tertiary students to broaden their understanding of and engagement with Singapore by learning about the business environments, and opportunities and challenges for New Zealand’s food and nutrition sector in Singapore. The students’ learning was additionally supported by academic mentors and industry advisors, who oversaw their business projects. For the projects, the students worked together remotely in groups to prepare a business project report of up to 7,500 words that could be distributed to NZ businesses and other SEA CAPE stakeholders. The projects focused on these four topics:
- The potential of health food in Singapore
- Sustainable food and food security for Singapore
- Sustainable food-related products and services for Singapore
- Digitalisation and export engagement in Singapore’s food space
A main focus of TMIP is to provide lasting benefits and opportunities for programme participants. Following the 2021 programme, Laura Taylor a Bachelor of Commerce student Majoring in Marketing & International Business, secured an internship with Nutrient Rescue (a social enterprise that wants New Zealanders to eat more plant foods and less animal foods) whom we visited during the programme.
One TMIP team; Mrinali Kumar, Kendall Watts, Hannah Pattullo and Ella Moffat, created a project which evaluates the opportunity for Pekepeke-kiore (Hericium novae-zealandiae), an endemic New Zealand mushroom species, to be marketed as a functional food in Singapore. They entered the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) 48-hour Business Startup Competition with their "SHROOMS: A high-value indigenous powder export" idea and took out the title of Grand Final Champions.
The IFAMA most creative Pitch prize went to "b u n s" a team which included three more TMIP 2021 students; Nelson Harper, Ruth Allison Palmer and Reuben Dods.
Mrinali Kumar wrote a piece about the day on behalf of the winning "Shrooms" team.
"Us four driven wahine; Milli, Kendall, Hannah and Ella met on the SEA CAPE Tertiary Market Immersion Programme 2021, where we learned about food and beverage opportunities for New Zealand in the Singapore market. Five months on from the programme, we entered the IFAMA 48-hour business start-up competition to tackle the global issues surrounding cognitive health and wellbeing. Our team's mission was to build a future focussed, agrifood start-up through the three key pillars of innovation, preventative and indigenous health and sustainability. This led us to develop the winning concept of the competition: ‘Shrooms’ - A premium, superfood powder for overall cognitive wellbeing using an endemic species. The competition was an incredible experience that tested each one of us. We faced challenges like time constraints and having to pivot at multiple points throughout based on new information. Our collective advantage is our different strengths which complement each other. We all equally contribute and criticise ideas to keep moving forward.
This competition was the perfect opportunity for us to apply our knowledge from the SEA CAPE Tertiary Market Immersion programme. The programme provided us with a different perspective on business, culture, and export. A key takeaway for us was that New Zealand can do better. We must lower our reliance on commodity exports and move towards high value products, where we can retain the value in New Zealand. This was a key consideration when developing our concept for the IFAMA competition. We would like to thank Siah Hwee Ang, Vivienne Hunt and Wayne Mulligan whose support and mentorship during the SEA CAPE programme, as well as leading up to the IFAMA competition, has been instrumental to our success."