NEW ZEALAND: A Victoria University student has collected the top award in a global business competition for a scheme to support entrepreneurs in villages in developing countries.
Jake McInteer, a student from Victoria Business School, accepted the 2013 Global Enterprise Experience ANZ Champion Team Award at a function at Parliament on behalf of his international team. The seven members communicated across multiple time zones for three weeks to produce a business concept proposal on a profitable product or service that addresses a millennium goal of the United Nations Development Programme.
Mr McInteer’s team, which included members from Nepal, Scotland, Colombia, Bangladesh and Nigeria, came up with the idea of creating a Student-Entrepreneur Finance Network, a microfinance institution offering loans of $50 to $150 to entrepreneurs in villages in developing countries.
One of Mr McInteer’s team mates, Sumit Agrawal from Nepal, noted in his reflective journal that he was going to try his best to implement the team’s idea in his country.
Mr McInteer says despite his team not meeting any of the deadlines they set and the difficulties of communicating from a distance, the end result was something they were all proud of.
“As team leader, the whole process has taught me about cultural understanding and intercultural communication and given me a glimpse of what it means to be a global leader, today and in the future.”
Five UNESCO Commitment Awards were given to participants who went to extraordinary lengths to overcome hardship to contribute to their global team. One recipient was Victoria University student Brady Austen who was hospitalised and had surgery for a motocross accident during the contest, but used his cellphone to continue to contribute to the global team he was leading.
The Supreme Commitment Award went to Baha’i student Aziz’u’llah Samandari from Iran who has been arrested and imprisoned for communicating with foreigners and associating with the banned Baha’i Institute of Higher Education.
“In Aziz’u’llah’s case he has been imprisoned for the very things that we are celebrating in this contest getting an education and working in partnership across cultures.”