A team of student entrepreneurs from Australia and Hong Kong were named the winner at the annual FedEx Express/JA International Trade Challenge (FedEx/JA ITC) Asia Pacific Finals in Singapore. This year, the finalists presented market entry strategy plans to export a pet product to the United States of America. Songen Yeung (Australia) and Manson So (Hong Kong) beat 29 teams from across the region with their eco-friendly cat litter, which is made of soybeans and is a first for the American market. The pallets are natural, safe for pets and bio-degradable, creating less harm to pets as well as the environment.
To further promote cross culture exchange of ideas, individual finalists were randomly shuffled to form teams of two with each member from a different market. A total of 60 students from ten Asia-Pacific markets (Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam) participated in the competition.
“Winning wasn’t on my mind when I decided to participate,” said Songen Yeung. “I started off with the mindset to learn about doing business, meet new people from different places, and challenge myself to do something out of my comfort zone. I am thrilled that I have achieved all that, and won the competition.” Manson So added, “This is certainly an eye-opening experience for me. We learned a lot about global business and team work among different cultures. I’d strongly encourage my schoolmates and friends to join this competition next year.”
The first runner up, Nathan Peadon (Australia) and SukHoon Chang (Korea), stood out with their proposal of uVET, a silicon microchip to be implanted into dogs to help owners keep track of their pets’ well-being and health, such as monitoring hydration levels, body fat and body temperature.
Kevin Ho (Hong Kong) and Taishi Nishizawa (Japan) came in third with the idea of a multi-functional smart collar for dogs that owners can use to track the location of their pets. It can also measure the number of steps taken by a dog to ensure that the pet stays fit.
“Technology is moving us towards an increasingly borderless world, and cross-cultural collaboration has become the order of the day,” said Karen Reddington, president, FedEx Express Asia Pacific. “We are thrilled that this year’s format reflected the increasing importance of international team-work. And FedEx is glad to be playing a part in providing a platform to nurture budding entrepreneurs. As part of our FedEx Cares commitment to invest $200 million in 200 communities worldwide by 2020, we are committed to giving entrepreneurs everywhere the tools they need to succeed.”
“The FedEx/JA ITC aims to provide students with the opportunity to gain business knowledge and work as cross-border teams to create innovative business ideas and solutions, just like in the real business world. Looking at the students’ interactions and impressive presentations this week, we are proud to say that it has been a success. We would like to thank FedEx Express for their continued support of this program, giving us the opportunity to support the development of young minds every year,” said Vivian Lau, president, JA Asia Pacific.
The FedEx/JA ITC program is jointly organized by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, and JA Asia Pacific, a member of JA Worldwide. It aims to inspire and educate young entrepreneurs about global business and provide them with a solid foundation to build their future careers in business. The program has inspired more than 17,000 students in the region since its inception in 2007.