The Foundation brought the six Southeast Asian entrepreneurs – representing industries from coffee to web services – to New Zealand for ten days as part of the ASEAN Young Business Leader’s Initiative. The initiative is designed to strengthen links between businesspeople in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and those in New Zealand.
While in New Zealand, the entrepreneurs met with New Zealand counterparts in their respective industries, met government agencies and industry bodies, and undertook professional development at the University of Auckland’s Business School and at business incubator The Icehouse. Their stay in New Zealand culminated with the Start-up Secrets event.
At the event, a panel comprised of four speakers from the ASEAN group and three New Zealand innovators spoke about the, often unconventional, paths they took to get to where they are today and the lessons they learned through the successes and failures they experienced along the way.
ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative project manager Adam McConnochie says sparking these initial relationships can be the first step toward ongoing business ties. “Based on the experiences of past participants in this programme, they are likely to become great advocates for building connections between New Zealand and their home country. As New Zealand’s trade ties to Southeast Asia continue to grow, they will act as an important resource for Kiwis doing business in the region.”
Running since 2012, the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative has brought nearly 50 dynamic entrepreneurs and business leaders from Southeast Asia to New Zealand, building business connections and facilitating trade links.
This year the programme has been made reciprocal, enabling New Zealand business leaders to explore opportunities in the region. The first group of New Zealanders – tech entrepreneurs – travelled to Thailand and Singapore in June. Another group from the agribusiness and social entrepreneurship sector will visit the Philippines in December.