Young Entrepreneurs to Represent Japan at 2021 FedEx/Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific
Six students will demonstrate their innovative and creative ideas, with an opportunity to collaborate with students from other countries and territories at APAC finals
TOKYO JAPAN, July 20, 2021 – FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, and Junior Achievement (JA) Japan hosted the Japan finals of the 2021 FedEx/ Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge on Sunday, July 18. The following six students in three winning teams will represent Japan at the FedEx/JA ITC regional finals to be held online in August 2021.
Winning Team: Team Hiroo Pines – Hugo Hiramatsu and Ryu Takamatsu from Hiroo Gakuen High School. The team invented a portable umbrella and sun parasol with security features built into it to help address security concerns and the impact from climate of Pakistan. The user can operate a function on the handle that can be linked to a smartphone app to alert a security company when needed. The team performed well and interviewed staffs at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Tokyo to gain insight on setting the price of the product.
Runner up: Team Brrrr – Joe Kojima and Kaito Shiotsu from Hiroo Gakuen High School. The team presented idea of a backpack with solar panels and a cooling compartment that can keep food and drinks cold throughout the day, while cooling the users’ back when it is worn. The idea focuses on on Pakistan’s climate and frequent power outages which bring impact to people’s life.
Second runner up: Team Emerald – Risa Bernier & Shou Bernier from The American School in Japan. The team invented a long sleeve swimsuit tops and bottoms for children. They are made from an ultra-light, quick-drying material that mosquitoes can’t bite through, preventing the spread of malaria and other diseases caused by mosquito bites.
This year’s competition set a record in terms of the number of participating students since the competition began in 2008. This is the second time that the program was held online due to the pandemic. Having the competition online allowed for even more students to participate, including those who live outside of Tokyo, where the program would normally be held. This year, 72 teams (two students per team) submitted their innovative business ideas to create a market entry strategy for a physical fashion product for Pakistan. Out of these, eight teams were selected to participate in the Japan finals and present their ideas to judges from FedEx Express, education, and other industry sectors.
The six winners will be invited to the next online competition. They will work with students from nine other countries/territories (China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam) and be paired at random. Random pairing is encouraged for richer shared experiences among the students of different nationalities to help students brainstorm ideas with an inter-regional lens. FedEx employees supported students by providing mentorship and advice on effective ways to develop business plans and prepare presentations through virtual communications.
“We are very proud to support students at the FedEx/JA ITC with Junior Achievement. Through the program, students gain an understanding of economic development and building connections that stretch across borders,” said Ken McMahon, managing director, Sales and a judge of the Japan finals. “We are eager to see students bring new ideas this year. We believe this program is an ideal platform to help aspiring entrepreneurs learn about cross-border trade as well as sharpen their business thinking and collaborative skills to succeed as future leaders in our global community.”
In 2020, the number of newly established entrepreneurs in Japan remained at the same level compared to previous years despite the economic impact from the pandemic. It is thought that many start-up businesses are finding a new wave in consumer consumption. As entrepreneurship continues to thrive, FedEx/JA ITC continues to inspire young people by providing a learning opportunity to develop their own business ideas. It broadens students’ knowledge of global trade and provides them with an opportunity to interact with other students from the Asia Pacific region, thus enhancing possibilities for their future.
A student from the winning team said, “The program was a great experience for me to learn about business because I didn’t know much about business before participating in this program. We saw great business ideas and presentations from other finalists, and I am happy to be selected as a winner.” Another student who participated in the program for the second time said, “Because this was my second time, I really learned a lot from this program. I would definitely recommend this year’s participants to join next year’s competition for further learning.”
FedEx is committed to giving back to the local community. FedEx Cares 50 by 50 is our journey to positively impact 50 million people around the world by our 50th anniversary in 2023. We plan to accomplish this by using our business and logistics expertise and the passion of our team members to help solve some of the world’s problems. More details of FedEx Cares 50 by 50 can be found here.(English only)
About FedEx Express/ Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge
Since 2008, FedEx Express has sponsored the FedEx Express/Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge (ITC) in Japan in order to educate and inspire young people to better understand entrepreneurship and think globally. This program was designed to foster business knowledge through practical teamwork exercises and classroom learning. The program includes three key activities – the local international Trade Workshops, the Japan ITC finals, and the regional ITC finals. To date, more than 1,000 students in Japan have benefitted from the program and 78 students have represented the country at the Regional Challenge.