Gisborne Girls’ High School student Nitha Vashti was the big winner at the YES awards final when, in a surprise announcement, she was named the national Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) CEO of the year.
She was judged as the best leader of the 915 YES teams entered around the country.
Her student team Project Ataahua won the company of the year award at the regional final here on Thursday night.
YES regional co-ordinator Lena Bevan said the evening was a huge success, with a lot of positive feedback.
“Everyone was really impressed by the quality and hard work the students had put into their businesses. The teams’ pitches were excellent and the judges took quite some time deliberating.
Project Ataahua is made up of Nitha Vashti CEO, Kate Plummer as marketing and production manager and Kaea Gillman as finance manager.
The student company commissions artists to create murals throughout Gisborne, representing the theme of journey, to showcase Gisborne’s rich culture and heritage.
To win the regional title, Project Ataahua completed a variety of business milestones during the year, culminating in pitching their business to a panel of judges this week.
The panel included Civil Projects Solutions director Gretchen Moylan, Eastland Community Trust chief executive Gavin Murphy and Eastland Group energy solutions general manager Steven Follows.
Nearly 4000 students have taken part in the nationwide scheme, setting up more than 900 companies.
The one-year programme gives students an authentic learning experience which connects them with the business community.
The Project Attahua team will head to Wellington to vie for the title of the YES national company of the year.
Twenty regional teams from across New Zealand will compete in the national “dragons’ den” competition and attend the awards gala dinner on December 6. More than $25,000 in prizes will be awarded to student companies.
Nitha will receive her $1000 cash prize, a trophy and will be invited to attend a networking event with Chartered Accounts Australia and New Zealand, which sponsored the CEO award, at the national awards.
Regional winners announced were:
Regional company of the year: Project Ataahua.
Runner up: The Kiwi Publish.
Eastland Group marketing award: Project Ataahua.
Electric Village innovation and design award: Chair Bro, Opotiki College.
Annual review award: Project Ataahua.
Rangatahi entrepreneurs sustainable practice award: Orohena Cosmetics, Lytton High School.
Female entrepreneur: Nitha Vashti, Project Ataahua.
Male entrepreneur: Bryn Gault, Chair Bro, Opotiki College