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Feb 24, 2016

Social enterprise on show as Southland students share ideas at Enterprise Day

Standing up to bullying can be as easy as wearing a ribbon - at least if the idea of a group of Southland students comes to fruition. Aparima College students Sarayha MacDonald, Tyla Lonneker and Kaleb Lamb said on Thursday their company, "Sweeten Up Your Day," would sell ribbons in different colours, which could be worn to raise awareness of the issue of bullying.

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The students presented their idea as part of the Southland Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Enterprise Day, which was held on Thursday at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club.

Southland Boys' High School year 12 students, clockwise from left, Ethan Yeo, Brad Kooman, Darcy More, Harry Pardoe-Burnett, Taylor Hogan, and Keegan Fiebig, pitch a business idea to business mentor Bronwyn Ward, of Westpac.

More than 100 students from Aparima College, Mt Aspiring College, Southland Girls' High School, Southland Boys' High School, and James Hargest College took part, presenting ideas to business leaders.

The programme, run in conjunction with the Southland Chamber of Commerce, will see the students' ideas turned into real products during the year.

MacDonald said the idea of anti-bullying ribbons was an example of enterprise for a cause - also known as social enterprise.

"[Bullying] is quite bad in society and has quite a bad effect on people," she said.

"We just want to put a stop to it. We came to realise we're all quite passionate to stop bullying."

Inspiring quotes would be included with the ribbons' packaging, MacDonald said, such as Dr Seuss quotes with ribbons for younger children. She said the target audience would be teens, but anyone could wear the ribbons. A part of the money raised would also be given to anti-bullying organisations, MacDonald said.

Southland Girls' High School year 12 students Bayleigh Hair, Acacia Symons, Chloe Johnston, Anisha Gillan and Thiare Urbina said they hoped to sell their scented candles - known as "Luminant Lights" - at schools and online to a target audience of women aged 30 and older.

Urbina said there were also plans to sell tealight candles, which would be targeted towards teens and people buying gifts.

"We definitely have an idea of what we'd like it to look like," she said.

"We did lots of research."

Young Enterprise Scheme community manager Sasha Webb said students would get to keep the profits after tax from the businesses they created as part of the programme.

"We really believe in the value of authentic educational experiences," she said.

"This provides students an opportunity to learn by doing. Enterprise is a key part of the Kiwi culture. It's the no. 8 wire mentality. This region is so well-known for running small and medium enterprises."

Southland Chamber of Commerce young enterprise co-ordinator Joanne O'Connor said the programme had been going on in Southland for about 30 years.

"It gives them skills, no matter what they do," she said.

"It's our future, for the growth of the province [through enterprise]. Southland's good at making things happen."