Teenage entrepreneurs comprising the Filipino student company Hiraya have won the FedEx Access Award at the JA Asia Pacific Company of the Year Competition finals in Tokyo, Japan.
The FedEx Access Award aims to develop participants’ understanding of the value of global access to businesses and communities.
Chosen for their business idea to have the highest potential to create jobs, grow small business, expand into other markets and improve the environment, Team Hiraya came up with the “Pina bag,” a versatile and innovative office bag which makes use of a combination of pineapple fabric and synthetic leather for a durable, high-quality product.
Team KASCA from Thailand took the first prize for their concept of a sustainable, multi-functional board made from compressed rice husk that serves mainly as a device stand but also doubles as a personal organizer for a wide range of everyday items.
Team Golden Great Ganesha Student Company (3G SC) came second with their idea of producing practical, multi-functional and highly durably attractive ethnic bags.
Third place went to team Collar Couture from Guam, who designed a handcrafted couture bowtie with a twist – while designed primarily for pets, they can also be repurposed for children, men and as accessories.
Launched in 2011, the Asia Pacific JA Company Program aims to develop high school students’ abilities to organize and operate an actual business by providing economic education and business skills.
This year, 19 student companies from 13 markets (Brunei, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) participated.
“FedEx is proud to continue to support the JA Company program in Asia Pacific, which is a valuable and enriching program that nurtures the students as they develop entrepreneurial skills and abilities for the real-life world of business,” said Asia Pacific president Karen Reddington.
“The FedEx Access Award, in particular, illustrates how businesses and communities can benefit from today’s unprecedented hyper-connectivity. Businesses that once would have struggled to expand overseas can now reach customers in distant locations and time-zones, as the students in the program now understand.”
Meanwhile, Asia Pacific president Vivian Lau noted, “It’s always gratifying to see how much the secondary school students in our flagship Company take away from the experience.”