Case study: ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative

We worked with the Asia New Zealand Foundation to create opportunities for young entrepreneurs and an understanding of South East Asia.
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Young Business Leaders Initiative

For New Zealand to be successful abroad in growing its tourism and exports, it is vital to build our domestic knowledge of these markets. An example of how we are helping New Zealanders identify and access new business opportunities is the Young Business Leaders Initiative (YBLI), a programme that supports the Ministry’s efforts to improve trade access for New Zealand in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Participants in YBLI must be under the age of 40 and leading entrepreneurs in their field. It is funded by the Ministry and delivered by the Asia New Zealand Foundation, with support from ASEAN, the New Zealand Business Council and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. The programme has led to a number of partnerships, deals and joint ventures. To date, YBLI has taken 36 New Zealand entrepreneurs to Southeast Asia and brought 87 young business leaders from Southeast Asia to New Zealand.

Rapid exchange of knowledge

“The strength of YBLI is the way it allows for the rapid exchange of industry specific knowledge, at the same time as helping participants build up their knowledge of foreign markets quickly,” says Adam McConnochie, Programme Manager for the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

“An example of this at work is five leading New Zealand technology entrepreneurs visiting the Philippines in June 2018. Participants had diverse tech start-up experience spanning industries such as artificial intelligence, investment and blockchain, and were able to network this with entrepreneurs in similar industries in the Philippines.

“People think of the Philippines as being primarily a market for outsourcing services, but it also has a significant emerging technology scene filled with entrepreneurs who are pushing boundaries, which presents a range of market opportunities for New Zealand businesses from Software as a Service (SaaS) to consulting”, says McConnochie.


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