The 2023 FedEx Express / JA International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific Finals
In a blink of an eye, the FedEx Express / JA International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific Finals is done with its 17th year! 17 years of opening windows of opportunities for aspiring young entrepreneurs to showcase their abilities and innovativeness through the International Trade Challenge by producing their own market entry strategies - with nearly 45,000 students who joined, 4,300 schools, 1,900 FedEx Volunteers, and 10 markets across AMEA.
Empowering Youth Entrepreneurship Across AMEA
Just like in the previous years, students who go through the program compete on a national level in teams of 2, before joining the regional competition where 6 teams would then be chosen to compete for the top 3 spots. This year, there were 30 Teams composed of 60 Students from 10 Asia Pacific Markets, namely: Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The teams were mentored by 55 FedEx Volunteers.
While a lot of preparations, orientations, and icebreaker activities happened behind the scenes, there were five events that were live streamed through the official FaceBook page.
The International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific Finals 2023 Topic
The 2023 Asia Pacific Finalists
Here are the 60 Asia Pacific Finalists from Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The 2023 Asia Pacific GRAND Finalists
Every year, talented and aspiring young business leaders join the challenge, and it was no easy feat for the 13 experienced business leaders who judged the presentations. After tough deliberation in round 1, 6 exceptional teams were shortlisted for the Grand Finals.
The Grand Final Winners of the 2023 FedEx Express / JA International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific Finals
The market entry plan topic for this year was to create a product that would address sustainable delivery solutions, having Poland as the target market.
1st - BufferPuff by TAVI
The winning market entry strategy was for a product called BufferPuff, proposed by team TAVI, comprising Nguyen - Ngoc Linh from Vietnam, and Napat Worrasangasilp from Thailand. BufferPuff are biodegradable packing peanuts made out of cornstarch, providing compression, padding, and support while delivering products.
2nd - FlexiWrap by Sustainovate
Placing second was team SUSTAINOVATE, with Tsaqif Ammar Sakti from Indonesia, and Jeongwoo Lee from the Republic of Korea. Their product is called FlexiWrap, a protective, efficient, and eco-friendly wrap that follows the shape of your pottery item.
3rd - EcoFlow by CRESCO
To complete the Top 3 winners was team CRESCO, with Itsuki Son from Japan, and Elyshia Alodia Binarto from Indonesia who placed third with their product EcoFlow, a versatile bio-styrofoam made from rice husk as a sustainable delivery solution.
“A very important element of the ITC program is that you go from traditional classroom learning to learning by doing.” - JA Asia Pacific President and CEO, Maziar Sabet
Welcome Address for the Opening of the 2023 International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific Finals by JA Asia Pacific President and CEO, Maziar Sabet. Sabet thanked FedEx, and the Asia Pacific JA Members, led by the Executive Directors for their effort in supporting this event. A special thanks was mentioned by Sabet, “To the amazing teachers who have been walking the journey with our student participants. Your passion and support has been an inspiration to us all.”
"Competitions like this are super important – it provides a platform where aspiring entrepreneurs can demonstrate their novel ideas so today’s leaders of tomorrow, can gain new perspectives" - Senior Vice President (of) Operations for FedEx Express in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Africa (MEISA) region, Kami Viswanathan
The Keynote Speech was given by Kami Vishwanathan, the Senior Vice President (of) Operations for FedEx Express in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Africa (MEISA) region. Viswanathan’s message to students in her speech entitled “Disrupting for Good,” focussed on entrepreneurship and the opportunities that lie ahead for them as Generation Next. She acquainted finalists, as future entrepreneurs, to three trends shaping the future for them:
(i) the interconnectedness of the world;
(ii) the democratization of technology, and;
(iii) purpose driven businesses.
“It’s not an easy sell to create innovative products that are environmentally impactful. Because you’re not just trying to sell a product, you’re also trying to change habits, and this is very hard” - Founder and Creative Director of SuperBee, Antoinette Jackson
The Entrepreneurial Speaker Journey Session with the Founder and Creative Director of SuperBee, Antoinette Jackson. She founded SuperBee Wax Wraps in 2016. Antoinette shared how being disturbed by the proliferation of single-use plastic, she looked to her own surroundings for solutions and took inspiration from her grandmother. Antoinette set about creating a beeswax mix for reusable and sustainable food wrapping in her home kitchen. The session allowed students to be inspired by a real-life entrepreneurial journey, and begin to consider existing products and solutions for their ITC challenge ahead.
2023 ITC AP Fireside Chat
This year’s Fireside Chat theme was “Turning Passion Into Purpose” where we had three previous winners of ITC on a panel discussing their journeys after their participation in this event. As Steve Jobs said, you have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.
First prize winner of ITC 2018, Lucy (Seungwon) Lee from the Republic of Korea, shared her learnings from the transferable core values of ITC through her undergraduate studies in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania to starting a non-profit organization in Uganda to strengthen the healthcare system. Lee pointed out that ITC heightened her communication skills by developing her ability to work under a time constraint with someone new to come up with a purposeful solution and persuade others of the value of the product.
Second runner up of ITC 2021, Raine Nakpil from the Philippines, disclosed how her ITC experience changed her life by opening doors to becoming student ambassador and mentor for various JA competitions, and now as Alumni President of JA Philippines. Nakpil shared that despite the competitive aspect of ITC, she felt very welcomed and cared for by JA, even after ITC.
First place winner of ITC 2022, Jaime Yau from Singapore, shared her post-ITC journey which allowed her to find a home in non-profit organizations doing partnerships and communication. Yau encouraged finalists to be absolutely open with their partners at the competition and leverage each other's strengths.
Meet the 2023 ITC Judges
We are immensely grateful and humbled that we were able to gather these esteemed people from different industries and regions to judge for the 2023 International Trade Challenge!
Words from our Judges
It is always a relief for the participants to know that there are people who will guide them to confidently explore their market entry strategy ideas. This year, 55 FedEx Volunteers from 16 different locations provided ITC Asia Pacific finalists the support that they needed.
About the Sponsor
FedEx Express is one of the world's largest express transportation companies, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express uses a global air-and-ground network to speed delivery of time-sensitive shipments, by a definite time and date.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenue of $84 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively, operating collaboratively and innovating digitally under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its 570,000 team members to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. FedEx is committed to connecting people and possibilities around the world responsibly and resourcefully, with a goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040.
About the Organizer
JA Asia Pacific is a member of JA Worldwide, one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship and a recent nominee of the Nobel Peace Prize. With the Asia Pacific region being home to 60% of the world’s youth, JA Asia Pacific aims to empower young people to benefit from and contribute to the region’s economic development and to create a positive impact in their lives and communities.
With operations across 17 countries and territories, the JA Asia Pacific network equips young people with the employment and entrepreneurship skill sets and mindsets they need to succeed. By building abilities and nurturing self-belief, JA prepares youth for the future of work, ensures they have the tools to be financially capable adults, and teaches them to think entrepreneurially. Supported by nearly 52,000 volunteers, and reaching more than 3 million students last year, JA Asia Pacific is one of few organizations with the scale, experience, and passion to build a brighter future for the next generation of global innovators, entrepreneurs, makers, and managers. As a member of JA Worldwide, our global network consists of more than half a million volunteers, serving more than 15 million students in over 100 countries each year.
For more than 100 years, JA has delivered hands-on, experiential learning in work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. We create pathways for employability, job creation and financial success