News

2015 Contest

Nepalese quake inspires winner of global business competition 

The supreme award winner of Victoria University of Wellington’s Global Enterprise Experience announced at Parliament last night was inspired by one team member’s first-hand experience of the devastating earthquake in Nepal earlier this year. 

Asira Khanal lost five family members in the April quake and sheltered many nights under a tarpaulin. At the same time, she participated in Victoria Business School’s annual, three-week Global Enterprise Experience that challenged students from all over the world to devise a business solution for an issue affecting a vulnerable subsector of society. 

Asira’s team, led by University of Otago student Hamish Anson, included students from the Netherlands and Finland. Her winning idea was to manufacture cheaply-made ceramic water filters for developing countries where safe drinking water is scarce. 

Asira says most people in rural Nepal do not have access to safe drinking water, and water-borne diseases are largely responsible for the country’s high child mortality rate. “I received a call from one of my relatives in a village who had lost her home complaining about the lack of drinking water. So I started researching innovations in water purification systems that could be easily adopted in developing countries. [Ceramic filters] would be a great venture to pursue in Nepal because the Bhaktapur district has been famous for clay products for centuries,” she says. 

This year’s competition involved 880 students from 179 universities across 53 developed and developing countries. Each team of eight was led by a New Zealand student from either Victoria or Otago universities. 

Last night’s awards ceremony, co-hosted by Minister of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce and MP Dr Jian Yang, recognised not only the students’ innovation and business skills, but also their ability to work in a global context across time zones, language barriers, limited internet accessibility, and social and political differences. 

Seven categories of awards were presented on the night, with South African Kgotso Makwana winning the University of Otago Champion Journal Award for demonstrating exceptional individual skills. 

Global Enterprise Experience founder and organiser Deb Gilbertson says one of the most inspiring awards is the Commitment Award that recognises a student who has overcome extreme difficulties to participate. 

“This year, an Iranian student won the Commitment Award. She is of Baha’is faith, and so is prohibited from higher education. She belongs to an underground university and her very participation in the competition, plus the fact she is communicating with foreigners, could have led to imprisonment,” Deb says. 

“There are some amazing stories of students who face extremely challenging circumstances to take part. It’s very humbling, but it’s also heartening to know this competition is helping them, and all participants, gain invaluable skills to become our next global leaders.” 

Over 6000 students have taken part in the programme since it began 12 years ago. 

 

2014 Contest

Enterprising concept seeks to eradicate outlawed tradition

A business proposal to make low cost sanitary pads to eradicate the rural Nepal social practice of banishing menstruating women from family life has won the top award in a global business competition. 

Adam Smith, a student from Victoria Business School, accepted the 2014 Global Enterprise Experience ANZ Champion Team Award at a function at Parliament last night on behalf of his seven team members from Argentina, Nepal, Malaysia and Australia.

Adam’s team was one of 114 teams competing in the contest. Participants came from 62 countries and were all led by New Zealand students, mainly from Victoria and Otago universities. They had three weeks to communicate in cyberspace and develop a business concept proposal on a profitable product or service that addresses the needs of youth and/or children. 

“Chhaupadi is a social tradition, which is now illegal but prevalent in nearly all of rural Nepal, where women are prohibited from participating in normal family activities during menstruation and cast out of the house. Due to their low income, these women cannot afford expensive, but necessary, sanitary items, and use old rags, leaves and ash instead, leaving them embarrassed and susceptible to numerous health issues,” says Adam.

“My team proposed providing affordable sanitary pads to promote adaptation of healthy hygiene habits, which would hopefully reduce the stigma of menstruation and enable higher school attendance rates among girls.”

Adam says participating in the Global Enterprise Experience competition was a “revelatory journey”.

“Having the opportunity to talk frankly with others my age who face a very different reality was humbling and inspirational. I realised I took for granted many of the things in my life which others only dream of, such as education and even electricity.

“I learnt a lot, not only about managing people and the challenges involved, but also about myself and how lucky we are.”

The judges were His Excellency Dr the Right Honourable Sir Lockwood Smith, New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Nigeria, Ghazali bin Dato' Mohamed Yusoff, Malaysian entrepreneur, philanthropist, business and social leader; Michael Wills, Relationship Manager at ANZ; and Berlinda Chin, Director, New Zealand Office of Ethnic Affairs. 

 

2013 Contest

Funding Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries a Winner

A Victoria University student has collected the top award in a global business competition for a scheme to support entrepreneurs in villages in developing countries.

Jake McInteer, a student from Victoria Business School, accepted the 2013 Global Enterprise Experience ANZ Champion Team Award at a function at Parliament on behalf of his international team. The seven members communicated across multiple time zones for three weeks to produce a business concept proposal on a profitable product or service that addresses a millennium goal of the United Nations Development Programme.

Mr McInteer’s team, which included members from Nepal, Scotland, Colombia, Bangladesh and Nigeria, came up with the idea of creating a Student-Entrepreneur Finance Network, a microfinance institution offering loans of $50 to $150 to entrepreneurs in villages in developing countries.

"Each loan would be directly funded by a student from a developed nation who would provide expertise and advice from their field of study, and receive a return on investment when the business began to turn a profit," says Mr McInteer.

One of Mr McInteer’s team mates, Sumit Agrawal from Nepal, noted in his reflective journal that he was going to try his best to implement the team’s idea in his country.

Mr McInteer says despite his team not meeting any of the deadlines they set and the difficulties of communicating from a distance, the end result was something they were all proud of.

"As team leader, the whole process has taught me about cultural understanding and intercultural communication and given me a glimpse of what it means to be a global leader, today and in the future.

"It also provided plenty of food for thought-it’s all very well to think of how governments and aid agencies could spend money to solve problems, but coming up with a profitable venture opened our eyes to all sorts of possibilities for business to create a better world."

Five UNESCO Commitment Awards were given to participants who went to extraordinary lengths to overcome hardship to contribute to their global team. One recipient was Victoria University student Brady Austen who was hospitalised and had surgery for a motocross accident during the contest, but used his cellphone to continue to contribute to the global team he was leading.

The Supreme Commitment Award went to Baha’i student Aziz'u'llah Samandari from Iran who has been arrested and imprisoned for communicating with foreigners and associating with the banned Baha’i Institute of Higher Education.

"The Global Enterprise Experience competition means a lot to students worldwide and for some participation can even be risky," says organiser Deb Gilbertson from Te Kaihau Education Trust.

"In Aziz'u'llah’s case he has been imprisoned for the very things that we are celebrating in this contest-getting an education and working in partnership across cultures."

Other awards included the University of Otago Champion Global Leader, won by Otago student Sophie Pinto-Raetz, and the Victoria University of Wellington Champion Journal Award which went to John Musantu from Zambia.

This year the competition brought together 764 students from 50 countries in 95 international teams.

The Global Enterprise Experience is supported by ANZ, Victoria University, UNESCO-NZ, University of Otago Business School, Sustainable Business Council of New Zealand, United Nations Development Programme and HostingNZ, and is organised by the Te Kaihau Education Trust through Victoria University

2012 Contest

Healing arthritis with cats claw wins student business competition

Healing arthritis from an Amazonian herb in partnership with the Coruguaje indigenous tribe in Colombia was judged the winner at the 2012 Global Enterprise Experience ANZ Champion Team Awards.

The contest is run from Victoria University in New Zealand with the aim of creating future global leaders who can work in partnership across cultures, world views and levels of wealth and poverty.

This year it brought together students from 40 countries into 90 international teams.  The teams had three weeks to meet online, choose a project, then research, design and write a business concept proposal on a profitable product or service to link developed and developing countries for mutual benefit.

The winning business concept—Claw for Coruguaje—proposed to work with the Coruguaje tribe to take indigenous intellectual property protection of the local cats claw plant that has strong health benefits to generate local jobs, income and education.

Members of the winning team were: Kate Stone (New Zealand), Alex Le Phuoc Thao Bui (Australia), Maria Luisa Panta Correa (Colombia), Wong Man Sam Samantha and Yuen Kiu Wong (Hong Kong), Koya Joshua (Nigeria) and Tuyishime Moise (Rwanda)

The contest was judged by David Clendon (MP and Greens spokesperson for tertiary education), Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand (former Governor General), Hon Winnie Laban (Assistant Vice Chancellor at Victoria University) and Jo Riley (ANZ Senior Manager). “The reports were extraordinary, having been produced in just three weeks.  The winning report had everything – an awareness of sustainability, commitment to the indigenous people of Colombia, strong economics and good marketing.  It demonstrated both the difficulties and the value of a collaborative approach to business.”

The Victoria University Global Leader Award winner, Helena Langer from University of Otago, described how this contest consumed her life as she built her global team. New Zealand’s time zone meant she was up in the early hours of the morning to link the team on line.  “I realise that life in other parts of the world is not as easy as here in New Zealand.”.

The UNESCO Commitment Awards recognised five participants who went to extraordinary lengths to overcome hardship to contribute to their global team.  Winners included an Iranian Baha’i who is banned from attending public Iranian universities solely because of her faith and risks imprisonment if found studying or communicating with foreigners.  A Nigerian travelled 150km from his village to get to the internet, another did extensive field research into the team’s project.  The Nepalis contended with an epileptic power supply that had power outages for 11 hours per day.

The University of Otago Champion Journal Award went to Sebastian Hofler, a German studying in Colombia, who worked with his global team on trading refuse in Nigeria.

As Melissa Pariss, a team leader from University of Otago said, “The progress and achievements that can be accomplished through working together and caring are infinite, which I think is a pretty awesome and precious insight to get from this experience.”

2011 Contest

Making honey from mangroves wins student business competition

Making honey from mangroves for the Wayuu indigenous tribe in Colombia was judged the winner at the 2011 Global Enterprise Experience ANZ Champion Team Awards.

The contest is run from Victoria University in New Zealand with the aim of creating future global leaders who can work in partnership across cultures, world views and levels of wealth and poverty.

This year it brought together students from 39 countries into 64 international teams. The teams had three weeks to meet online, choose a project, then research, design and write a business concept proposal on a profitable product or service to foster indigenous development.

The winning business concept—Wayuu Mangrove Beekeeping—proposed to reforest the mangrove swamps, providing a habitat for bees and enhancing the natural environment. The proposal aimed to sell the honey in the European organic food market. Colombia has over 100 indigenous communities, many like the Wayuu being affected by diminishing access to land and resources in the area.

Members of the winning team were: Claudia Ducrot (New Zealand), Lee Chong De (Malaysia), Omisakin Yinka Waliyat (Nigeria), Zeeshan Arshad (Pakistan), and three Colombians—María Paulina López Morales, Rosario Tatis-Marin, and Maria Fernanda Gallego Maya.

The contest was judged by Dr Rajen Prasad (New Zealand Member of Parliament and Ethnic Affairs Spokesperson); Gavin Shing (ANZ Bank Senior Manager), Dr Andrew Matthews (New Zealand UNESCO Deputy Chair), Suzanne Hall (Managing Director of on-line self motivation company BE Intent and former New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year); and Prof Piri Sciascia (Pro Vice Chancellor Māori at Victoria University). The prize giving ceremony at New Zealand’s parliament was supported by Oracle New Zealand.

The BE Intent Global Leader Award winner, Jessica Ch’ng from New Zealand, described how this contest had inspired her to realise that “with creativity and practical steps, there are remedies for the injustices and issues facing indigenous people”.

The UNESCO Commitment Awards recognised eight participants who went to extraordinary lengths to overcome hardship to contribute to their global team.

Winners included an Iranian Baha’i who is banned from attending public Iranian universities solely because of his faith and risks imprisonment if found studying or communicating with foreigners.  Nigerians faced curfews and assaults during their election week in their efforts to get to an internet café.  One student was hospitalised with his injuries, another competed despite succumbing to typhoid. Nepalis contended with an epileptic power supply that had power outages for 14 hours per day. Lawer Akfoli from Ghana worked up a pole with his computer to get internet access.

The Victoria University Champion Journal Award went to Olaoye Oyinkansola Kofoworola from Nigeria who saw the potential to process plantain to reduce poverty of the Igun indigenous people of Nigeria.