We were just two ordinary 16-year-olds from SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), who were enjoying life in Form 4 when we were encouraged by our teacher to join the FedEx Express/Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge (FedEx Express/JA ITC) 2022 Malaysia Finals.
Without much thought, we joined because several of our schoolmates decided to join, too!
Our task was to create a health product to be sold in our target market, which was Cambodia. It was definitely challenging as we didn’t know much about the country.
What do Cambodians need? What do they lack? What would be beneficial to them?
During the initial stages, we were quite lost and didn’t know where to begin. We had numerous brainstorming sessions via phone calls but still didn’t have any concrete ideas at that point.
We then decided that we were going to let our hearts guide us. At that juncture, it was not about winning or even about making it through the finals – we just wanted to enjoy and learn from the experience!
For our market entry strategy, we created CHANGE – an innovative water bottle with a built-in filter that got us through to the second round. CHANGE water bottles were to be made from BPA (Bisphenol-A) plastic, which made them lightweight, durable, shatter-resistant, and environmentally friendly.
The bottles would have a filter made of a hollow fibre membrane, which would be long-lasting and easy to clean, allowing everyone access to safer water, better hygiene, and a healthier lifestyle, overall.
“Everyone deserves a change” was the inspiration and motto behind this product.
We were nervous. We were sure that other teams would have great ideas to develop unique products, too! We decided we were just going to enjoy the process and have fun ideating and creating this solution.
Our market entry strategy successfully moved us into the second round, but what really surprised us was when we made it to the Top 15! At this point, we were prepared for the worst, but we continuously reminded each other to just have fun while giving our absolute best.
That mindset really helped us. We believe that a competition is just a challenge – what was important was to give your best and enjoy the process without focusing just on winning. The journey is more important than the destination, and if you give your best, there will be no regrets.
Just before our presentation on the last day of the Malaysian finals, we even decided to watch a movie to de-stress, since we were ready and prepared!
This competition opened our eyes to the reality of the world, and made us realise the need to serve the world for the greater good.
Through this competition, we realised that a good entrepreneur is one who aims to make the world a better place through their products and/or services.
It should add value to the world, helping those who need assistance.
We aspire to one day create solutions that can help or fix major crises or issues in the world.
Our team, Team Nimol, was selected as one of the three winning teams in the Malaysian finals to advance to the FedEx Express/JA ITC 2022 Asia Pacific (APAC) finals.
It was nerve-racking as we didn’t have each other at the APAC Finals – we were each paired with winners from other countries, who were total strangers, with different personalities, culture, and thought processes.
We didn’t win in the APAC Finals, but looking back at our journey, we have no regrets, as it was indeed a truly great, valuable experience.
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