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Sep 06, 2016

Young Matamata College entrepreneurs take products to the market

Year 12 Matamata College students will be taking their small business ideas to the market as part of the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme.

06 09 2016

Independent entrepreneur Dallas Kete and JA-OK company directors Jack Trower, Andy Schweizer, Olivia Carter and Kaleb Reid will be showcasing their small business products at the Hamilton Night Markets, in the K-Mart underground carpark.

Kete has developed a solar-powered water testing unit to enable people to test for bacteria.

Dallas Kete has developed a solar water testing unit as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme.

The idea for Kete's solar-powered water tester came from personal experience with contracting water borne illness giardia from tap water in Hong Kong while on a student exchange.

"You go to these countries and you know there is a risk from drinking the water, but there is not really any easily accessible options to treat the water or test the safety of it. I wanted to develop something to prevent someone else getting sick like I was."

The small palm sized unit tests for total dissolved solids, PH and temperature which will give the user an indication if the water contains bacteria, but not the specific strains. One hour solar charge, provides 24 hours of power to the unit.

"I looked at market, saw there were lots of units that tested PH, temperature and total dissolved solids. Looking at the ever changing dynamics of the world, solar power is huge and if you are in another country, batteries aren't always available and the unit wasn't practical as a plug in. I thought how hard would it be, to be solar powered. It's taken a lot of work, a lot of trial and error."

Keeping the water issues facing Havelock North residents in Hawke's Bay in mind, Kete has decided to couple the device with a pocket-sized handbook about water borne bacteria, treatment and signs of water borne illness. Aimed mainly for travellers, it will also be quite useful for anyone in the agriculture and hospitality industries.

"There are a lot of water issues. A lot of people are getting sick because they are simply not informed, they don't know how to treat the water or to know the signs of water borne illness, just like I didn't.

"Water borne illness has really increased in the last few years."

Kete has decided to put her system to good use and for every 100 units sold, she will donate five units to the Red Cross.

"I've received so much support from the community and family and friends, so I thought it's important to give back."

Life after school

Matamata College company JA-OK, made up of company directors Jack Trower, Andy Schweizer, Olivia Carter and Kaleb Reid, have created an app Student Survival NZ, aimed at students heading out on their own for the first time.

The app includes low-budget recipes, flatting guides, a budget, CV builder, study tips and links to universities.

"We've got quite a bit to offer," says Reid, the managing director of JA-OK.

Most of their information comes from the internet, with permission from site owners, as well as external partners who have also provided resources.

Carter, the company's finance manager, says there's been a positive response from people about the app and the company is thrilled to be invited to take their product to the market.

"Being involved really gave us motivation to move forward, to make sure we make the best possible app we can and are helping people. For what we have produced, it's pretty good quality and we are quite happy with it," she says.

The app is currently in version 1.2, and Reid says there is always room for improvement.

"The product is never finished, we are always adding some more things."

The app is available on iTunes and Google Play.


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