FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, together with Junior Achievement (JA) Asia Pacific, announced the winners of the 15th annual FedEx Express/JA International Trade Challenge (ITC) finals. The competition expanded to Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) and for the first time, included participants from India and Indonesia joining the competition.
The 15th edition of the competition drew students from ten AMEA markets – Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. The AMEA finalists had already won through local market competitions fending off more than 4,000 other aspiring student entrepreneurs.
Despite the pandemic and specifically how it has impacted societies, the student teams of two were tasked with creating a market entry strategy for a physical product to the United Kingdom that will enable people to recover from or overcome the impact.
The students presented their ideas during three days of intense competition in front of a panel of regional business leaders. The winners emerged from a group of 60 APAC finalists who competed in the finals held entirely virtually from August 9 to 11.
The winning team was The Peak Performers who include Princess Cecile F. Gurrea from the Philippines and Chaerin Park from South Korea for their idea to create Seed Link greeting cards containing scented seeds for the elderly to write letters to their loved ones. The aromatic scent helps them relax and feel connected even during the lockdown.
Team Kanina Jurong Ligers include Wong Yong-Cheng from Singapore and Aastika Jain from India were named first runners-up for their idea of a DIY Concert Kit containing everything you need to recreate a music concert right at home during the lockdown.
Lastly, team Felicity includes Seojin Ahn from South Korea and Riefka Azka Aulia Hasna from Indonesia as second runners-up for their idea of AI-powered educational teddy bear. The teddy bear supports young children in distance learning through conversational and emotional support using big data.
“We are both overjoyed to be named the winners of the competition. It’s a great honor to be selected amongst our very talented peers! Every stage of the competition has been a great learning experience for us, especially the finals. All the presentations, collaboration, and mentoring has really inspired us, and made us even more committed to begin our entrepreneur journey,” said The Peak Performers team members.
“It’s inspiring to see so many bright talented students apply their creativity, innovation and drive to solve some of the toughest, real-world problems faced in today’s post-pandemic world. This program is designed for all students to grow on their path to entrepreneurship regardless of how they place in the finals. There are no losers; only learners,” said Kawal Preet, president, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region, FedEx Express. “Nurturing entrepreneurs is hugely meaningful to everyone at FedEx. We believe that empowering the next generation through this program, fosters that learning culture and provides our youth with the right tools, that will help the region prepare for what’s next.”
“At JA, we are in the business of empowering young people as individuals and as thriving members of a broader community. And as an NGO dedicated to serving youth, we are so appreciative of our amazing students and corporate partners such as FedEx, that help enrich our community and advance this precious cause through their dedicated support of entrepreneurship and global-mindedness,” said JA Asia Pacific President and CEO Maziar Sabet.
The FedEx Express / JA International Trade Challenge program is jointly organized by FedEx Express and JA Asia Pacific, a member of JA Worldwide. This year, a total of 40 FedEx volunteers from 10 AMEA markets mentored the students. In addition to supporting young entrepreneurs through JA ITC, FedEx Express is an advocate for and supporter of small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs) around the Asia Pacific region.
Judges of the competition were impressed by the organization of the virtual competition and the efforts made by the students.
“What a great platform to support and encourage our future entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific! Very impressive results. Kudos to JA for organizing and FedEx for supporting such a unique event, especially during these challenging times.”
Patryck Pimpao Merhy, Partner – Head of Asia Pacific, Patria Investments
“The second time into the competition as a judge, I am still exhilarated by the sheer creativity and confidence exuded from the young contestants despite the virtual format. All the ideas demonstrated clever thinking and deep compassion towards the issues many people and communities face. I want to congratulate each of the participants on their stellar performance. Keep it up!”
Jenny Kwang, Founder of Jco Jewelry Pte Ltd
“I’m impressed with the enthusiasm and deep understanding of what it takes to make a business successful shown by the students through their presentation. Congratulations to all.”
Jimmy Gani, Founder & Chairman, Proven Force Indonesia
“We’re living in a defining moment where many societal and economic issues exposed during COVID-19 need to be fixed. The go-to-market strategies presented by these aspiring entrepreneurs offered a fresh perspective to some of the deep-root challenges. I look forward to seeing these ideas come to fruition in the near future.”
Neptune Factor, Founder and CEO, eCFULFILL
“It’s very encouraging to see the young potential entrepreneurs of tomorrow putting together their great minds, creativity, enthusiasm as well as optimism into solving problems during pandemic, and going way beyond that to make the world a better place. Kudos & congratulations!”
Johnwei Muljono, Founder and Managing Director, PT Moncrete International
“Again, I was very much impressed by the originality, level and overall quality of the pitches the students put together in such a short time. I very much hope they all have gotten inspired to become entrepreneurs!”
Robin Teurlings, CEO, The Startup Buddy