The Saigon Enterprise Challenge is an annual business competition held across 6 schools in Ho Chi Minh City. The aim of the challenge is for participating students to experience both the highs and lows of running a business over a 6 month trading period. Students are tasked with creating, developing, producing, marketing and selling a product or service of their choice (and hopefully at a profit)! This subsequently offers them the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial and business skills in a safe environment.
This year we have 5 teams consisting of 30 Year 12 students representing BIS HCMC in the final of the competition. Between them they have created a wide variety of products from comical phone cases sure to make you smile, to sustainable bags representing Vietnam’s minority cultures. We spoke to some of the participating students to find out their thoughts on the competition so far…
Establishing key soft skills essential for the workplace
The Saigon Enterprise Challenge allows our students to experience and understand real-world business situations and therefore establish key soft skills that are essential in today’s competitive global labour market. Charlotte, Marketing Director of The Heritage explains;
“It was an eye-opening experience for me: it isn’t only a lot of fun, but it is an opportunity for you to gain real-life experience that you otherwise wouldn’t be likely to learn during your school years.”
These soft skills include; teamwork, using their initiative, working to deadlines, communication, planning, project management, negotiation skills, creativity and dealing with conflict; elements which are commonplace in any area of employment.
Application of theory to real-life circumstances
Some of the students are studying Business as part of their International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. An extra-curricular activity such as the Saigon Enterprise Challenge allows these students to apply the knowledge obtained in the classroom into the real-life setting of creating and running their own business whilst learning from mistakes along the way, as explained by Sophia;
“I have put into action what I have learned in Business class in the past few years which has been really satisfying. It is one thing to get the right answer on a test and a completely different one to make the right decision in real life. As the Managing Director, I have made plenty of mistakes but they have definitely taught me a lot. To be honest, I never imagined I would learn as much as I have in the past few months.”
Inspiring students to be ambitious
This challenge aims to encourage students to think outside the box, be creative, be ambitious and for some students like Charlotte, even inspire them to become the entrepreneurs of the future;
“I am neither a Business Management nor an Economics student but I have truly enjoyed being a co-creator of a small business. There is a lot of freedom in what type of business you decide to create and what role you play in it, so within the Saigon Challenge, I don’t believe that anyone can say that running a business simply doesn’t suit them. Give it a chance, and you may be just as surprised as I was to discover the beauty of the Saigon Enterprise Challenge. I now even see the possibility of working in or setting up my own business in the future!”
You can learn more about the companies our students have formed by clicking on the links below:
- The Heritage - brand of bags set up by a group of girls for the Saigon Enterprise Challenge, with the mission to combat the diminishment of Vietnam’s minority groups’ culture as well as show the beauty and value of their heritage.
- Shellphone - a small business group offering phone cases for everyone. Look out for their unique characters with their individual personalities!
- The Amazons - a business offering a wide range of name/subject tags to personalise your notebooks. They wanted to make a statement through their work by integrating the image of strong, fierce, warriors - The Amazons.
- Charged Chargers - join the CH@RGED community with these waterproof phone pouches and portable chargers.
The final will take place on Thursday 5th April 2018 at the BIS Secondary Campus from 5-7pm. Each team will be competing for a host of awards decided by a panel of judges consisting of local entrepreneurs.
Stay tuned to find out the winners!