The Bee Team win UC international challenge

03 June 2015

A project to cultivate native bee hives for organic honey has been named the winner of the UC 21 Day International Challenge.

The Bee Team win UC international challenge

(From left) The Bee Team winning students with UC academics and the Philippine Ambassador. (From left) winning team member Callum Clark, with UC Senior Fellow and Entrepreneur in Residence and challenge organiser Linda Cruse, team members Claire Musson, Victoria Ning, and UC challenge manager Associate Professor Sussie Morrish, Philippine Ambassador Virginia Benavidez, and team members Kilali Gibson and Jessie Weber-Sparrow.

A project to cultivate native bee hives for organic honey has been named the winner of the UC 21 Day International Challenge.

“The Bee Team”, were named the winners after the top three finalists presented their solutions to the judging panel, which included Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, on Friday night.

The challenge gave six teams 21 days to develop a practical and unique solution to help improve the socio-economic well-being of the people of Barangay Tarong in Carles, Iloilo, a Filipino community hard-hit by typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. Each team comprised five students and five business mentors.

The winning team will visit the community in Barangay Tarong to help the local community implement their concept in the middle of the year. The business leaders in the winning team will have the option to participate in the trip at their own expense.

At the final event, UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr announced that he will personally donate $5,000 towards each of the top three projects virtually doubling the winning team’s budget and enabling the two runner-up projects to also be implemented in the Philippines.

These include a collaborative community project to grow and dehydrate mangos and an agricultural initiative that combines protective cropping and nutritional education. Some business mentors have also pledged to cover the travel costs of at least one runner up.

The winning team’s solution will establish a beekeeping cooperative for honey and by-product production including pollen, propolis and cosmetic ingredients using the stingless native honeybee species Tetragonula biroi.

The cooperative will be held in partnership with The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Bee Programme and would introduce hives for honey production, educational purposes and propolis.

They will also set up an ornamental feature garden, designed to promote recycling, sustainability, awareness of the ecosystem, combined with an educational workshop with children at the local school, open for the whole village to attend.

Team member Callum Clark says the winning idea has the potential to provide a complementary, sustainable income for members of the Tarong community.

“We envision that the project will help those directly in the cooperative as well as the wider community through indirect means such as education, environmental awareness and increased crop yield in other agricultural areas,” he says.

“It was a real privilege just to be part of this competition, but to see all the hard work implemented and be a success will be the most satisfying thing.”

Challenge manager Associate Professor Sussie Morrish says all the teams worked extremely hard and dedicated their valuable time into putting a business plan together.

“This has been an exciting challenge that brought together students from across all UC faculties. What these teams have put together is amazing. The collective knowledge, skills and insights of the teams prove that when we work cooperatively rather than competitively, the outcome is far superior,” she says.


For further information please contact:
Phil Barclay, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager on 027 889 5636.