Leadership Network members
mentor teen entrepreneurs

Members of Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Leadership Network shared their international knowledge, professional expertise and diverse experiences with high school students for the Enterprise in Action event in Wellington recently.

Leadership Network members Natalie Sew Hoy and AJ Singh discuss how the students did with the challenges they were set

Enterprise in Action is an annual event run by Young Enterprise Trust (YET), involving 80 secondary school participants who already run their own small businesses through The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme. This is the second time the Foundation has participated after taking part in the Auckland event in 2016.

Over a weekend, four members of Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Leadership Network teamed up with a group of eight students, who came from schools in Timaru, Christchurch, Invercargill and Wellington.

The Leadership Network members who mentored Young Enterprise Trust students were:

  • AJ Singh, manager portfolio – performance/insights analyst, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
  • Katy Wilson, co-founder, Square
  • Natalie Sew Hoy, insights consultant, The Thinking Studio and CEO, Crafted
  • Shaun Tan, chief technology officer, Lanaco

The team completed two challenges – the Massey University Innovators Challenge and the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Challenge. This year participants were tasked with creating a geothermal product for the Japanese market. 

Natalie Sew Hoy says being part of the challenge was a great way to help the next generation of young entrepreneurs shine.

“I believe it is so important to have entrepreneurship in our curriculum; it was really humbling to see where these students were at with their own enterprises, and see how they think.

“You don't truly see what differences the next generation hold unless you have the opportunity to be part of something like this.” 

The students' Young Enterprise businesses experience really shone through during the weekend, says the Foundation's programme manager (Entrepreneurship and Leadership), Adam McConnochie.

"While our students didn’t win, they worked well together, impressing our mentors with their social-media skills and particulalrly their ability to build a website in two hours!

Enterprise in Action challenges New Zealand students to look at global issues, which McConnochie says is a good fit with Asia New Zealand Foundation’s mission of equipping New Zealanders to thrive in Asia. 

"This event was an opportunity for members of our Leadership Network to mentor the next generation and we’re really pleased to be able to build their leadership skills in this way."

The Foundation's Leadership Network is a global professional network at the forefront of developing and maintaining strong links between New Zealand and Asia.

Established in 2007, the network now has about 430 members from diverse personal and professional backgrounds who are based throughout New Zealand, in Asia and beyond.