Youth veges idea wins international award

KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 05:00 20/06/2012
Jamiee Thompson
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
CREATIVITY WINNER: Southland Girls' High School year 12 student Jamiee Thompson was part of the New Zealand team which was announced Global Enterprise Challenge runner-up yesterday.

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An idea for unemployed youth to grow and sell vegetables has won an Invercargill student and her enterprise team an international award.

Southland Girls' High School student Jamiee Thompson attended the FedEx Trade Challenge and Global Enterprise Challenge in Auckland at the weekend, and was part of a team mentored by Just Water's Tony Falkenstein, Jay Harraway and Connie Miller.

The first part of the event, the FedEx challenge, held at Massey University, required the team to design a market entry strategy for wood-based products in Indonesia, Miss Thompson said.

"Because the Indonesian rainforest is being demolished, and the government is losing $3.37 billion per year to the illegal logging industry, we thought we could minimise that by selling luxurious New Zealand toilet paper in Indonesia rather than them making it themselves from rainforest," she said.

The group did not win an award for their idea but got useful pointers they used during the Global Enterprise Challenge, which started on Saturday night, she said.

The challenge brief was: Present a business idea to a panel of entrepreneurs who are keen to invest in a business start-up which might be a micro-business in exchange for an equity stake in the operation. These investors are particularly interested in business ideas that will create jobs for young people.

The group planned their time, allocated each team member a role, and ensured good communication between team members, going on to win the national round.

"We came up with a scheme that gave resources such as seeds, equipment and knowledge to young people to start to grow their own vegetables ... we buy them back from them and sell them on to another company or corporate," Miss Thompson said.

The group came up with a number of planter designs so they could be used by apartment-dwellers or people with more space.

"When they felt they were a skilled vegetable grower they could extend their garden or opt out of us buying their vegetables and start their own business."

They found out yesterday morning they had placed second in the international final, and had also won the Creativity Award.

Miss Thompson, a year 12 student, is the chief executive of the Young Enterprise Business "The Smell of Southland", which makes environmentally friendly liquid hand soap featuring some of Southland's famous scents.

As well as learning about business during the challenge, Miss Thompson said she learnt a lot about time management, working as a team and using her people skills.

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zThere were 81 students from Lion Foundation Young Enterprise groups selected for last weekend's challenges in Auckland

zThe Global Enterprise Challenge is a 24-hour competition for students aged 16-19, with more than 2000 students taking part from 140 schools and colleges worldwide. Schools from 17 countries took part in the final.

- The Southland Times

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