As part of New Zealand’s Global Kaitiakitanga Project, young entrepreneurs are introducing their innovative healthcare products to the world at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The New Zealand Pavilion has partnered with the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) to provide business mentoring for young New Zealand innovators aiming to disrupt the health and wellness industry. The four students, all aged 18, have developed sustainable health products currently on sale in New Zealand.
Harnessing the power of raw barberries, Abalro Health has created a supplement to help those suffering from acne. An estimated 80 per cent of people get acne at some point, and a study from the University of Michigan shows that just two teaspoons of barberries daily can reduce the appearance of acne by up to 43 per cent in just four weeks.
It is the brainchild of Alex Livingstone, who founded the company with school friends Abby Green and Robert Donohoe. Livingstone himself suffered from acne. His father discovered the therapeutic powers of the berries online, but, unable to access them in New Zealand, they started to import them from Iran.
Alex Livingstone said: “Something that we are proud of is that Raw Berry Powder is fully natural. They also have zero side-effects compared to some acne products where the side-effects can often be worse than acne itself.”
The Global Kaitiakitanga Project has provided the team with skills in sustainability and exporting, while the Expo 2020 Dubai platform is helping to connect these young minds with other innovators to shape the future.
Abby Green said: “What we’ve learnt through the programme is that every single person has important key knowledge they can share. At Expo 2020 we are looking forward to meeting people from all around the world to share insights and experiences.”
Livingstone added that, so far, his Expo 2020 Dubai experience has been “emotionally breathtaking.”
Max Donaldson, founder of GreenKiwi Supplements, is equally excited about the platform Expo 2020 Dubai is providing for the exchange of ideas.
Max Donaldson said: “It’s fantastic to see what the countries have to offer here, especially after a long period of time when countries have been so detached from each other.”
GreenKiwi Supplements is a vertically-integrated business, which has developed a first-to-market, New Zealand-grown olive leaf supplement.
Donaldson said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increased demand for his immune-boosting product, which has high levels of antioxidants from bioactive compounds called polyphenols. “More consumers are concerned about their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and that’s where olive leaf comes in,” he said.
Donaldson’s product is also helping in the development of New Zealand’s circular economy, by creating a high-value supplement from an industry byproduct: “In New Zealand, if you want to be a sustainable company, you can’t just be environmentally sustainable. The values are interdependent; it comes down to enhancing people, place and profit. Those aspects can’t be in isolation.”
These trailblazers all advocate a healthy lifestyle and encourage youngsters to “do the activities they love.”
“If you enjoy what you do in terms of fitness, you’ll continue to do it,” said Donaldson.
For Green, who says a healthy lifestyle has always been important to her, it is about “just going for it. Don’t be scared and don’t hold yourself back.”
On Monday, 24 January, the New Zealand entrepreneurs also met with other young innovators from Austria and Italy.
The initiative comes as Expo 2020 Dubai celebrates Health & Wellness Week, one of 10 Theme Weeks held under Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet, offering an exchange of inspiring new perspectives to address the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time.
The Theme Week (27 January – 2 February), held in association with the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and the World Health Organization (WHO), will explore the relationship between mental and physical wellness, and the enabling role of quality access to health care and technology in reaching the last mile and building healthy societies