The eight Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) teams who will compete at the Canterbury regional final on 31 October have shown a professionalism beyond their years, according to organisers.
“All have shown huge determination and self-drive; consistently producing excellent quality work and presenting strong submissions throughout the year with a professionalism beyond their years and experience. Their scores are extremely close,” Canterbury YES regional coordinator, employed by Ara, Idoia Alday Gonzalez said.
YES sees senior secondary school-aged entrepreneurs set up and run real businesses over the course of a year. Over 500 senior secondary school students participated in the YES programme in Canterbury, creating a product or service, developing a business and selling to real buyers.
The eight finalists showed creativity and innovation, while awareness of environmental issues also played a large part in product conceptualisation. A healthy coconut spread, environmentally-friendly limited-edition wooden pegs, a jobsite for students, a preservative-free cracker, a carabineer with a grip handle equipped with reusable grocery bags, a native forest learning programme, bio degradable air fresheners and minimal carbon footprint candles have found support with local business partners and customers.
YES helps to develop not just business, but also life skills. “Through their YES journey, students learn valuable skills such as financial responsibility, the importance of relationships and moderating risks. As these students complete their education and go on to participate in our workforce and in our communities these skills will be highly valued,” Alday Gonzalez says.
The showcase ‘Annual Review’ event celebrates the achievements of all the teams in the region, however the judges - Steve Brooks, Founder of Dream Believe Succeed, Milly Goodwin, Consultant at Emst & Young Ltd., Ross James, Dean of University of Canterbury Business School, and Rob Lawrence, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce R&D Specialist Growth Advisor - will be watching the eight final teams closely.
“The top eight scoring teams (across three challenges completed throughout the year) will be invited to pitch competitively to a panel of judges for the final 10 points. Both the Regional Champions and Runner Up teams will go to Wellington to compete in the National Final.”
There is a $25,000 national prize pool as well as regional awards and cash prizes and tertiary scholarships. Regionally, Ara sponsors excellence awards for Innovation and for Enterprising Technology plus the prizes for winning team and the runners up.
The eight finalists are:
Adavika (Middleton Grange School)
Peg it! (Villa Maria College)
Ninja Employments (Christchurch Girls’ High School)
Too Good Foods (Villa Maria College)
CarryBENA (Villa Maria College)
The Gro•Up Group (Cashmere High School)
SOS Fresheners (Villa Maria College)
Aether Candles (Papanui High School)
YES aligns closely with the Ara approach of experiential, real world learning, which helps to develop problem solving, leadership and communication skills alongside core competencies.
Previous YES teams have gone on to run successful businesses – the CEO of Kiwibank, the founder of Eat My Lunch and the creator of the Charlie’s Juice empire have all completed the Young Enterprise Scheme.
Alday Gonzalez acknowledged the huge support of the local business community. “Operating on sponsorships and support from local and national businesses, entrepreneurs and community networks, we are incredibly grateful for the time and expertise provided by mentors and coaches and for the other prizes and sponsorships the students receive. Without the generosity of our family of supporters, the scheme would not be able to exist.”
ANZ, UC Business, XCHC, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand (CCANZ), Dream Believe Succeed and Ernst & Young are the major sponsors of the event.