Meet our evokeAG. 2020 Future Young Leaders – Leesa Chen - evokeAG.

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Meet our evokeAG. 2020 Future Young Leaders – Leesa Chen

Meet our evokeAG. 2020 Future Young Leaders – Leesa Chen 

25 year old Leesa Chen is passionate about people-to-people connections that transcend borders. With particular interests in Australia-China bilateral trade, Leesa hopes to see closer collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships between Australia and China through improved market access, innovation and value creation. And she walks the walk and talks the talk.

What steps have you taken to achieve your aspiration to support closer collaboration between Australia and China’s agricultural value-chain?

I Co-founded China Australia Food Circle (CAFC). CAFC is a cross-border platform that connects industry professionals across Australia and China’s food and agriculture industry. Currently in the second stage of prototyping, the network is a mobile based community with more than 60 active members who use a Chinese platform called WeChat. The network provides a platform that encourages cross-border dialogue and eliminates the transaction costs in obtaining industry updates and costs in finding partners and international customers.

I would like to help Australian agricultural sector better understand the Chinese market, Chinese culture and Chinese consumer behaviour which in turn enables the sector to produce high value products and services at a high price point. In understanding the Chinese market and the multilayered subcultures that lie underneath, I see myself as a bridge connecting Australia and China.

What are you most looking forward to about evokeAG. 2020?

I am looking forward to the new Startup Program for evokeAG. 2020 where startups get to pitch their ideas and solutions to an international audience including investors and customers. The rise of the “Born Global” where firms achieve international scale from the start or in its early stages reflects an inflection point for food and agriculture. Firms are no longer waiting years before they venture into the global arena and to hear from the thinkers and disrupters with startup ideas and global solutions from the very beginning is big, bold and exciting.

What’s the one message you want to leave with evokeAG. delegates?

The next generation of leaders in agriculture are thinkers and connectors. We are curious not only about how we do things but we are also concerned with the impact of our actions, both as decision-makers and as conscious consumers. Today more than ever, as our value-chains extend even further and as our products and services reach consumers all around the world, we are thinking about our social impact. We have a responsibility beyond the farm and factory gate and by doing well by doing good, businesses can become more sustainable and the communities that we operate in and the communities that we affect along the value-chain are better off.

What excites you about the Australia/China trade market? What can we be doing better to develop this market?

We are seeing the full benefits of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) through improved market access. It is also exciting to see more small and medium sized Australian businesses venturing into China to test the waters. But as the opportunities between Australia-China trade strengthen, China is also paving strategic trade relations all around the world.

Australia’s reputation as a producer of ‘clean, green and safe’ food is no longer unique. To better develop the Australia-China trade, we can start small and encourage grassroots networks and dialogues between young people between Australia and China’s food and agriculture sector.

If we can get these young people to be working together and growing together, in 10 years’ time, when these young people move into decision-making roles, there is an inherent understanding of each other’s culture and business environment and more importantly, there is a strong sense of trust. Trust paves the way for collaboration, partnership and improved trade between Australia and China.

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