Six teams from the UNSW Business School have competed in the finals of the ANZ/EY Asian Century Growth Challenge.
The winning team was ‘Yield Prophets’, whose strategy for enhancing productivity and risk management in the grain supply chain through data and analytics was awarded the top prize in the Challenge final at EY’s Sydney HQ.
The Asian Century Growth Challenge is a collaboration between ANZ, UNSW Business School, and EY. As part of ANZ’s Digital Ecosystem, the bank looks to collaborate with universities globally to explore, test and validate how emerging digital technology can be applied to financial services.
“The Asian Century Challenge was a great opportunity for students from UNSW to put together and present a project on strategic challenges facing the agribusiness sector,” said Michael Whitehead, the Head of Agribusiness Insights at ANZ, the sponsor of the program.
Students were asked to provide ideas and concepts for one of four challenges facing agribusiness. The “challenge” was to provide a hypothetical business growth plan or innovative recommendation, to be pitched to ANZ, which would utilise new ideas, while building their entity’s Asian business capability.
“All the teams of students had to present to a panel of expert judges, and convince them they had the winning idea,” he said. “We’ve worked with these students over a period of months, and helped them to develop their ideas, as well as enhancing their presenting and pitching skills.”
Mentors from EY supported each team of students by providing context for the challenges businesses would face in the Asian Century. Student teams were guided through workshops and tutorials, culminating in the presentation of a “pitch” and an investor-style Q&A with the judging panel, made up of representatives from ANZ and EY.
“It’s been an eye-opener to see just how good these students have been, both at succinctly pitching their ideas, as well as grasping the complexities of the global agribusiness supply chain,” he said. “Another surprise is how thoroughly their pitches have applied new technologies and business models to the sector.”
Michael Whitehead said the enthusiasm of the students showed that the sector is very healthy.
“The Asian Century Challenge has helped the students enhance a number of skills which will be vital for them in the workplace, from quickly expanding their knowledge of a new sector to them, to improving their skills in presenting an idea in a competitive environment.”
“For ANZ, this has allowed us to play a direct role not just nurturing and developing the talents of the next generation of business leaders, but opening their eyes to the enormous potential of the agri sector across Australia, Asia and globally.”
Cindy Xie, who led the winning team ‘Yield Prophets’, said “For the project, we were asked to tackle to issue of growing demand for agricultural products in the future, especially with the growing markets in Asian. We had to find a solution that fit ANZ’s business model and targeted Australia’s core agricultural industries.”
She said their team looked at tackling the yield gap in the wheat industry. “We proposed integrating a precision agriculture tool, called ‘Yield Prophet’ which was based on CSIRO research and used the POAMA weather mapping system supported by the Bureau of Meteorology. It collects soil samples from each paddock, which were analysed for fertiliser and moisture levels. Overall, it is a system that allowed farmers to more accurately determine what inputs are needed and at what time, to create a greater yield.”
The program and Grand Finals event was organised by edu-tech company intersective.
This article was first released on the UNSW Business School website and written by Julian Lorkin.