Business Venture to Singapore

May 01, 2018 at 11:16 AM

With thanks to Year 13 student reporter, Jayden Lal

During the April school holidays, I had the privilege of being one of ten selected students from all over New Zealand to attend a fully paid business trip to Singapore. With the help of fellow student, Cameron McCormick, I submitted a 60-second application video that ultimately led me to being selected as an ambassador for New Zealand Entrepreneurs. 

Meeting the other students at Auckland Airport was exhilarating. However, knowing I was going to meet like-minded individuals and take on challenges with new people from different countries made the anticipation even more exciting. 

The 10 of us got on extremely well and with a vast array of characteristics and interests, and all of us having slightly different backgrounds, there were many stories to tell. The time spent together even helped develop a better understanding of cultural differences in NZ. We took these traits with us on our 7 full-on days of business trips, touring Singapore and seeing its culture. 

Over the last two days of our business adventure, we undertook a 48 hour shark tank/dragon’s den presentation, working in conjunction with  a Singapore student business group. We formed five mixed groups of four students and went straight into building a business idea and prototype, as well as creating and practising our presentation.

Yes, I will admit it was a stressful time, but we all worked extremely hard in the limited time assigned and achieved as much as we could. My group created a prototype app called FOODPAL, designed to help track the food you have in your pantry and what you have spent on items, as well as keeping records of all your recipes. We had to demonstrate the functionality of the app and explain the need for it to the judges in the NZ Chamber of Singapore. My group won the challenge: ‘Winners of the 2018 Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence.’ As a result, we have strong interest in our idea which may potentially lead me and my NZ teammate, Max returning to Singapore to further develop the idea. This trip has really opened my eyes up to the wider world and has intensified my passion for business.

Singapore was a truly enriching experience. Beyond the business knowledge I have taken away from the trip, the differences in New Zealand and Singapore's lifestyle allowed me to gain a new perspective on culture. We visited many people including the High Commissioner of NZ and his team, and NZ entrepreneurs who run successful businesses such as XERO Accounting, which gave us insight to their profession. XERO Accounting, in particular, talked about how they overestimated their ability to take off in Singapore and how they struggled and overcame these problems. We also went to visit and speak in places such as the Singapore Stock Exchange and High Commission, which was very interesting. Here, we learned about the reasons for needing a stock exchange as well and how it works. 

For me, the highlight of the amazing people we met was Tim Norton, Kiwi CEO/Founder of 90 Seconds. He truly inspired and motivated me to pursue my passions. He spoke with such an energy it could light up a city, and he showed us how much he loved what he was doing. Even through his downs, he manages to maintain his passion and not let people drag him down too. What he said was genuine and he told us that business is a risky avenue - it’s not always going to go well, but if it is something you really care about, you will strive to achieve. Tim was an awesome inspiration to me and I look up to the amount he has achieved and someday I would like to emulate his successes in my own unique way.

This trip has been an amazing privilege that won’t ever be forgotten, and the global business knowledge I gleaned will be taken with me into future ventures. 

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