Enterprising students' biggest challenge yet

JACOB CHANDLER
Last updated 12:29 12/06/2014
Rocks Road.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

PASSIONATE ABOUT BUSINESS: Paige Thomas, from Garin College, and Ben Seelen, from Nayland College, will take on two business challenges in Auckland this weekend.

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A passion for business and marketing is leading four Nelson secondary school pupils to Auckland this weekend to compete on an international scale.

The FedEx Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge and the Global Enterprise Challenge are being run together as part of the enterprise in action weekend at Massey University.

The two challenges involve developing a product or marketing scheme based on a brief, within a short space of time.

Previous trade challenges have been creating a market entry strategy to export carpets to Egypt or vuvuzelas to South Africa.

Nayland College student Ben Seelen, 18, said said he wasn't sure what the briefs were likely to be but thought it would probably be something bizarre.

"Iced Eskimos? It'll probably be something you can't solve and can only try your best."

Ben said he was "over the moon" when he found out he was accepted. His teacher had helped him to get involved.

Pupils were required to write 200 characters on why they wanted to attend the event.

For Garin College pupil Paige Thomas, 16, that was her first challenge, because she was an avid writer and keeping the word count low was tricky.

Paige said she had a passion for business and was looking forward to the challenges. "I love that it combines the left and right sides of the brain. The creative side and the logic side."

She also had no idea what to expect in regard to the challenges.

"I'm kind of throwing myself in the deep end."

After Garin she is considering studying a double degree in arts and commerce.

Ben and Paige will join Nelson College pupils Rees Vinsen and Harry Fergusson at the Auckland challenge.

Rees recently won the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme's Dragons Den after setting up his own social media consultancy company, Next SMC.

Rees said he was not going to talk up his chances of winning.

"I have never been part of a competition of this calibre. Just being chosen to participate is quite an achievement for me."

Six competitors in the FedEx Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge will be selected to compete against other Asia-Pacific countries in Hong Kong for the regional finals. Last year one New Zealand team came second in the Hong Kong regionals.

The enterprise challenge teams have to make a pitch on their business plan to judges. The best one is selected to represent New Zealand in the worldwide competition that will be decided by an international judging panel.

Massey University will support the winning team of the Global Enterprise Challenge by awarding each member a $2000 scholarship toward study at its College of Business.

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- The Nelson Mail

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