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Sep 22, 2016

Student's death 'pulled us tighter together'

A high-school student's death in a car crash has pulled the five survivors in his school-based enterprise "tighter" together.

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Jamie Wearmouth, 18, a student at the Kaipara campus of the Plymouth Brethren's Westmount School at Maungaturoto, died in June in an accident that also killed another student at the school and her mother.

He was sales manager of Apollo Coffee, a budding business he co-founded in February with five year 13 classmates as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme.

The surviving five shareholders were in Auckland todayto see Air New Zealand and other businesses, and said the tragedy made them even more determined to turn the enterprise into a real-world business that will earn their livings after they leave school.

"It was tough, we're not denying that, it still is," said Oscar Boakes, the company's 17-year-old chief executive. "It made us more determined."

Mathias Foster, also 17, said: "We won't forget it, it motivates us right through our business careers."

"It sort of pulled us together tighter," he said.

Two other members of the team are Jamie's cousins Regan Wearmouth, 18, and Jed Wearmouth, 17.

The fifth shareholder, Stirling Smith, 17, has taken over Jamie's role of sales manager.

The company has sourced coffee and coffee-making machinery from a Melbourne company, Zest, and the students have developed a new app that helps cafes order their coffee and keep track of its delivery and invoicing.

"There's nothing like that in the coffee industry," Stirling said.

The six founders all put their own savings into the venture and have raised more than $10,000 from investors. They won a Northland "dragon's den" competition and hope to get to the national Young Enterprise Scheme final in Wellington in December.


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