All I can remember is one day last year looking at the Young Enterprise Website. The girls and I had always wondered about doing some sort of business project/ class and we had no idea how- or no idea that YES even existed. Straight away after a quick skim of the website, I knew it was exactly what we wanted to do. The Young Enterprise Scheme is sponsored by the Lion Foundation, and it gives students the opportunity to create and run their own practical business- in real life! Each YES team is usually made up of 4-7 students each having a specific role. These include CEO, Communications, Sales and Marketing, Production and Finance. Within the hour I had emailed our DP and she had set up a meeting with the Head of Digital Technology, who took the class years ago. The next morning we met up with Ms Wells who gave us the go ahead and we were left eagerly waiting until the next school year began.
At the start of 2016 we hit the ground running. We attended E-day at Nelson College which is a compulsory day for all YES students to go and be introduced to the course. The day is composed of meet and greets, idea generating workshops and ‘speed coaching’ sessions with local business people. We also met our Regional Coordinator- Anne Harvey from NMIT.
To achieve YES you have to qualify for the Young Enterprise Certificate. This result is made up from the dragons den mark (30%); coordinators mark (40%); and annual review (30%). Each Term there is a list of activities we have to check off by sending completed versions to Anne. This ranges from sending a business card, business meeting minutes or showing her any publicity we have been featured in. This results in our regional coordinators mark.
One of the main events in the YES year is Dragons Den. This is what we competed in last week. Each team creates a 5 minute pitch which can include a slideshow, videos, graphics etc. The pitch is marked by judges against a very specific markscheme. And the results of this makes up 30% of our YE Certificate. The Heats were held at NMIT early June and we were lucky enough to get through to the Regional Final! Twelve teams went through to the final with three prizes up for grabs. Sadly, we didn’t win any but we didn’t walk away empty handed as we made heaps of contacts that night!
To earn the last 30% we are required to submit an Annual Review. This is a big deal and has to include an executive summary, a financial report and a company review. The Regional winners based off this markscheme head to the National Awards in Wellington where there is heaps of prizes up for grabs!
Through creating a YES business, you also create a support network and meet loads of new people. Each team has to have a business mentor, we were lucky that ours live under the same roof as me- we chose to work with my parents Emma and Dan Hennah from Sublime Coffee. We have Anne as our regional coordinator, Ms Wells at school who is our lovely supervisor and also other awesome people out in the community such as Dave Maloney from BNZ and Jeffrey Kohen.
After Dragons Den- the real focus is just finishing our product and getting it out to market. There are two internals available worth total of 15 credits and there’s also a YES exam but apart from that, the rest of the work is just all the jobs of running a regular business. (Which is a lot!) With one exception, we don’t have to pay tax/ GST. Instead we have to donate 25% of our profit to YES, so money goes back into the programme to allow it to continue. Another significant event in the year is Market Day. This year in Nelson it is held on Saturday the 17th of September and it is an opportunity to get all local YES teams together selling their products all in one place. It is also a chance to showcase to the community the the products of our hard work over the year.
The Young Enterprise Scheme has definitely been the best class we’ve taken throughout our four and a half years of high school. We can’t recommend it enough to other students! We are learning so many new skills, and we actually get to put them into play. We feel so lucky that the YES team has created such a cool program that grows and supports young entrepreneurs.