YES Alumni

Did you know we have an  incredible network  of alumni who have participated in YES over the past   40 years? 

The YES journey doesn’t end at the conclusion of the programme. There are many ways you can connect and collaborate with likeminded YES alum Including exclusive events, networking opportunities, connecting with the start up eco system and volunteering and giving back to YES and current students.

Join the Alumni whānau

We’re here to support you through your YES journey and beyond!

Alumni Awards

An evening all about celebrating the success of YES alumni! Introduced in 2021 the Alumni Awards highlights 8 Award winners across 9 award categories.

Nominations for the 2023 Alumni Awards are now open!

Click the link below to nominate your favourite alumni:

Alumni Awards 2023 Nominations

Congratulations to our winners of the 2022 Alumni Awards

'One to Watch' - presented by Icehouse Ventures

An alumnus/a of a YE programme in the last five years, who has demonstrated a passion for business and/or entrepreneurship. This could include (but is not limited to): founding a company, contributing to an existing company, actively engaging in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Winner: Samantha Fairhall, Founder and CEO of The Little Book of Smiles.

In 2018 Samantha began her Hope for Happiness journey through participating in the YES programme. 4 years later her dedication was still at an all time high and saw her first book published on her 21st birthday. “The Little book of Smiles” was produced as the first component of the Hope for Happiness Campaign. It is Samantha’s vision to create valuable resources for young people created by a young person. These resources include published written resources and in person workshops focusing on understanding mental health signals. Hope for Happiness  has targeted this book to young people while incorporating a focus on wellbeing and mental health in everyday life.

Emerging Alumni

An alumnus/a of a YE programme, who has made a clear contribution to business, preferably with value to New Zealand. The contribution could include (but is not limited to): founding their own company, the use of their entrepreneurial skills to grow/contribute to an existing business.

Winner: Alistair King, Founder & CEO at NOOD Petfood.

AlistairKing, Co-founder and Director of NOOD International Limited, a new age customer centric pet food brand developed in partnership with ZURU Edge. Under Alistair’s leadership NOOD has become one of New Zealand’s largest petfood companies and is sold and distributed across New Zealand, Australia, Canada and France. Alistair is pioneering the brand in the billion-dollar global industry, stepping into his role at just 21 years old

Alumni Company of the Year

A Start-up or company founded by a alumnus/a of a YE programme. This award may recognize a individual or an entire team.

Winner: Adulttoymegastore, Nicola Relph.

Nicola Relph founded Adulttoymegastore in 2009. They are a leader in the sexual wellness movement and is New Zealand’s largest online retailer for adult toys and sexual wellness products with more than 20,000 products, regularly shipping to over 11 countries and a 344% revenue growth in the past 3 financial years alone. The brand aims to normalise pleasure, educate, celebrate and stimulate conversations around sex in a fun and unique way to create a sex positive culture.

Community Leader - presented by Mitre10

An alumnus/a of a YE Programme, who has made a clear entrepreneurship contribution to business and community or clear contribution within their/a community. The contribution could include (but is not limited to): Incorporating a community focus within their company, demonstrating an initiative, demonstrating a positive impact their leadership excellence has on others in their organisation, industry, or community.

Winner: Shuari Naidoo, Founder and CEO of Moraka Menstrual Cups.

Shuari founded Moraka Menstrual Cups with the aim to provide an equitable solution to period poverty in New Zealand along with removing the issue of menstrual taboo.  Shuarihas donated hundreds of menstrual cups to organisations across the country including 100 to Weltec for students in need. Shuari’s list of accolades includes being named a Y25 for 2021, a finalist for Women of Influence, the Impact Awards in the climate category, the Girls in Business excellence in sustainability and most recently awarded the Young Woman in Public Affairs award by Zonta International- all while studying Politics and Criminology at Victoria University

Cultural Leader

An alumnus/a of any YE Programme who has effectively incorporated their culture into their business venture, and/or has demonstrated a positive impact on their community through cultural practices.

Winner: Shay Wright, Founder of Te Whare Hukahuka.

Te Whare Hukahuka isan indigenous social enterprise providing education that is for indigenous people by indigenous people. Te Whare Hukahuka aims to improve the lives of 10 million indigenous peoples through training, resources, and wrap around support, to empower indigenous leaders, grow community enterprises and launch new industries. Shay is passionate about purpose driven business and social enterprise and has been internationally recognised for his cultural leadership including being named in Forbes 30 under30 Asia-Pacific and an Obama fellow in 2019.

Environmental Leader - presented by Stuff

An alumnus/a of any YES Programme who has effectively incorporated environmental sustainability into their business venture, and/or has demonstrated a positive impact on the environment through their business. This could include (but is not limited to): incorporating an environmental focus within their company, promoting environmental sustainability.

Winner: Anzac Gallate, CEO of The Gro.Up Group

Anzac Gallate is studying ecology and marine science at the University of Otago Anzac is deeply passionate about the environment. While still at high school Anzac was a part of a sustainability council working group which won the Zayed Future Energy Prize, a prestigious global sustainability award. Following the award Anzac travelled to the UAE to present at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability week. He was also among a group of young people selected to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula in 2020

Distinguished Alumni - presented by Auckland Business Chamber

An alumnus/a of a YE programme, who has had a noticeable impact on business over a minimum of 15 years, preferably with significant value to New Zealand.

Winner: Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer at Xero

As the Chief Product Officer at Xero, Anna leads a global product team across product development, design, management and marketing to make a macro impact on the lives of small business owners and their advisors around the globe. Driven by the power and potential of technology to solve real-world problems, Anna leverages more than 20 years of experience in finance and technology to deliver strategies that enable a more inclusive and resilient economy through digital technology. Before becoming a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council for New Zealand, Anna served on the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council from2018 to 2020. In 2017, Anna was named among the Top 25 Women Leaders in SaaS by the global SaaS Report.-

Innovator of the Year - presented by Bridgewest Ventures

An alumnus/a of a YE Programme, who has demonstrated a passion for business and/or entrepreneurship in an innovative way. This could include (but is not limited to): Playing a role in the implementation and effective delivery of a highly innovative idea, out of the box or cutting edge thinking, innovation that brings out fundamental change and/or more.

Winner: Sean Feast, CEO Precision Chroma

Following Sean’s PhD he continued his work with Precision Chromotography Limited as a Post-Doctoral Researcher. He was previously awarded KiwiNet’s Emerging Innovator award to help commercilaise the technology further which can be applied to anit-bodies, proteins, DNA and viruses. Sean is working hard to bring this technology to market within the next year to revolutionise the bio-separations industry. Sean is actively engaging with other start-ups in New Zealand to help develop a culture of commercialising crown funded research for the betterment of New Zealand.

Supreme Alumni of the Year

The judging panel will select one category winner to also receive the supreme Alumni of the Year award.

Supreme Alumni of the Year Winner 2022: Anna Curzon, Chief Production Officer, Xero

Thank you to our Alumni Sponsors

Keen to stay involved?

YES Alumni Facebook Group

Your go to place to stay up to date with all things YES, connect with fellow alumni and find out about exclusive opportunities and events!

Alumni Networking events

We aim to host exclusive Alumni events across the country each year. these events allow our alumni to connect and collaborate with like minded people, hear from some great inspirational guest speakers, network with the best of New Zealand's entrepreneurs and just have a good old catch up! Stay up to date for event details on the Alumni Facebook page.

Look out on our Events Page for upcoming networking events.

Volunteer & giveback

There’s plenty of ways to give back to Young Enterprise and current YES students including mentoring a YES company, attending your regional YES events, mentoring at National events like Entrepreneurs in Action.

The seed for a lot of amazing companies has been planted through the Young Enterprise Scheme.

All the below companies have been founded by YES alum. We hope to see your company up there one day soon!