CEO, Yu Mei
In 2018, Jessie travelled to Thailand as part of the Foundation's fashion delegation.
Jessie is founder and CEO of Yu Mei, a leather goods label focused on leather bags and accessories. Jessie describes the label as the creation of understated luxury.
In March of 2018 Jessie travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi fashion entrepreneurs to Thailand, and spent a week getting to know the market and building connections with local industry players.
Jessie says, “I think the Thai trip made me feel more confident in doing business in Asia, just kind of via practice and realizing that people are just people, and that’s true across the world.
“My biggest Aha moment was realising that Thailand, even though its part of Asia, is so different to other parts of Asia that I’ve worked in before.”
Aotea, CEO and Founder
In 2017, Tama travelled to Malaysia as part of the Foundation's food and beverage delegation.
Tama is the founder and CEO of Aotea, a range of herbal and wellness remedies inspired by traditional Maori health practices.
In May of 2017 Tama travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi food and beverage entrepreneurs to Malaysia and Singapore.
The group toured sustainable businesses, visited outlet stores, met with buyers and distributers and attended the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise event Food Connections in Singapore.
"This trip was so eye opening. Being on the ground and seeing the market yourself really is invaluable," Tama says.
"I learned about the appetite that exists for a product like ours, not from beverage reports but more from talking to people on the ground that had a huge affinity with the ingredients we use and the concept."
Adrien was a member of the fashion delegation that visited Thailand in 2018.
Adrien Taylor is founder of Offcut, a company that uses fabric offcuts to make hats and caps. He founded the company after a 2015 visit to his father’s curtain warehouse in Christchurch where he saw a room full of discarded pieces of brand-new fabric. After learning that the company sent them to landfill, he decided to repurpose them into hats.
In March 2018, Adrien travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi fashion entrepreneurs to Thailand, and spent a week getting to know the market and building connections.
The group met with clothing producers, distributors and buyers, showed their garments at a fashion event held at the New Zealand Embassy and attended Bangkok International Fashion Week.
Adrien says, “Seeing how things were made was awesome… it gives you such an appreciation of the amount of work that goes into producing even the smallest of silk garments.
“I think I certainly went to Thailand with the idea that it could be a great place to start manufacturing hats or other things, but just never really thought of it as a place to sell to, but we certainly saw that there's also a potential market there.”
Bonnie Goods, Founder
Morgan travelled to Indonesia with the Foundation and a group of fellow food and beverage entrepreneurs in 2016.
Morgan is the founder of Bonnie Goods, an artisanal oatcake maker. The idea for Bonnie Goods came about when Morgan lived in Scotland and came across the Scottish national cracker – the oatcake.
In April of 2016, Morgan travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi food and beverage entrepreneurs to Malaysia and Singapore, and spent a week getting to know the market and building connections with local players.
She says, “I felt that spending an intensive week together created an almost incubator-like environment where we could converse, collaborate on ideas and critique each other’s businesses.
“I got so much value from just seeing how different the way of doing business over there is.”
Little Yellow Bird, CEO and Founder
The Foundation took Samantha to Thailand in 2018 with a group of fashion entrepreneurs.
Samantha is the founder and CEO of Little Yellow Bird, a uniform and apparel company.
Samantha sees Little Yellow Bird as much more than just a uniform company, providing their customers with complete transparency, and their workers with ethical employment opportunities.
In March of 2018 Samantha travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi fashion entrepreneurs to Thailand, visiting local producers, buyers and distributors and attending Bangkok International Fashion Week.
“It was valuable to see how manufacturing is done in Thailand and to have already explored several options should we ever expand into this market,” she says.
Moka Ceo and Founder
Sharee Wilkinson took part in the 2019 health and beauty visit to Malaysia and Singapore.
Sharee Wilkinson is CEO and founder of Moka Premium Eco Fibre Lashes.
Moka Lashes are the world’s first eco-fibre bio-degradable eyelashes and the first New Zealand made eyelashes.
In February of 2019, Sharee travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi health and beauty entrepreneurs to Malaysia and Singapore, and spent a week getting to know the market and building connections within
The group met with New Zealand trade officials – including dinner with New Zealand High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur Hunter Nottage - visited distributors, networked with their Malaysian and Singaporean counterparts and attended the Beauty Asia trade show where they tested the waters with their products.
“An outcome from going to Singapore and Malaysia was meeting the fantastic ladies who came on the trip also," she says.
“From going to Singapore, it’s definite that Singapore is a great market for the lashes. They would purchase them for events, to feel glam.
"Since returning I’ve had two emails from two different companies that would like to stock my lashes.”
The Cookie Project, Co-founder and Director
In September of 2019, Eric travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi social entrepreneurs to Vietnam.
Eric is the co-founder and director of The Cookie Project – a social enterprise that employs Kiwis with disabilities to make delicious cookies.
In September of 2019, Eric travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi social entrepreneurs to Vietnam to learn about social enterprises there and meet with locals working in the sector.
During the week-long visit, the group connected with social entrepreneurs working in tech, travel, agriculture, hospitality, crafts, textiles and education.
“To become a successful social enterprise in New Zealand we need to absorb and implement all the best practices from world-class social entrepreneurs," he says.
“When I saw the success of Reaching Out tea house and workshop, I saw that my dream for a Cookie Project Café is not an impossible dream.
“This trip totally convinced me that Vietnam will be on our export country consideration list, because the people are friendly, genuine, kind-hearted."
In September of 2019 Michael travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi social entrepreneurs to Thailand, and spent a week getting to know the market and building connections.
Michael is the co-founder of StudySpy, a social enterprise with the mission of enabling access to education.
StudySpy is a course comparison site with every course in New Zealand, from degrees to apprenticeships, as well as a free scholarship database with over $70 million worth of opportunities.
In September of 2019 Michael travelled alongside four other leading Kiwi social entrepreneurs to Vietnam, and spent a week getting to know the market and building connections.
They met with social entrepreneurs working in tech, travel, agriculture, hospitality, crafts, textiles and education.
Michael says, “After visiting Vietnam, I not only feel quipped to do business in Vietnam but also across South East Asia.
"I had the opportunity to make connections from this trip to hit the ground running in so many countries. I feel I now have the confidence to do business in Asia.”