A budding young Nelson entrepreneur's talent has earned him a spot in a six-person team representing New Zealand at an international business competition.
Garin College student Joel MacManus, 17, part of the team behind Ethical Mall, an online e-commerce site offering ethically produced wares, topped a field of 81 competitors at the FedEx Express/Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge in Auckland at the weekend.
He will join five other competitors from around the country to represent New Zealand at the 2012 Asia Pacific FedEx/JA ITC Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong in August.
Joel said yesterday that the win had not sunk in yet.
"I was in absolute shock; I wasn't expecting to make it.
"They called out my name and I didn't know what to do."
The competitors were asked to export a wood-based product to Indonesia, working in teams to prepare a market entry plan and present ideas to the judging panel who then selected the final six.
Proposals included kitset cardboard houses to help with the shortfall of housing for the 8 million homeless people in Indonesia.
Also proposed were bed frames which are able to be stacked on top of each other to cope with accommodating extended families, tea filters made from charcoal to help purify the water and environmentally friendly pine-based drink bottles which contain medicinal properties and replace plastic bottles.
Joel's team planned to produce traditional Indonesian Koli Koli boats.
Students were judged on their market-entry strategies detailing marketing, promotion, pricing, inventory and product distribution plans.
During the challenge, judges picked 14 competitors to take on a further challenge to earn their spot in the international tournament. The competitors also had to come up with a strategy for Marbecks music stores.
Joel proposed an online store which allowed musicians to submit their own tracks, the most popular of which would then be released in Marbecks shops.
He also proposed Marbecks construct "megastores" in its urban centres, so the brand would become a centre for music and culture.
Joel said the competition had been a fun weekend, but had been most valuable for the networking opportunities it had offered.
"It was incredible what the companies were doing with the young enterprise scheme. We exchanged business cards."
Sponsored by FedEx Express and organised by Young Enterprise Trust, the FedEx/Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge is designed to help students in Asia Pacific markets learn about international trade.
It also provides them with an opportunity to set up mock businesses and develop a plan to export a product to an overseas market.
The International Trade Challenge is in its sixth year in the Asia Pacific region and this is the fourth year FedEx is sponsoring the programme in New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News