Teams had five minutes each to wow a panel of judges by pitching their business - explaining why they created their product; how they made and promoted it; and how well it had sold.
Runner-up for the Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty region was Otumoetai College trio Wider Horizons, made up of Year 13 students Amia Wharry, Adriana Vickers and Phoebe Adler. The group launched its Tau Mohio Number Knowledge product - a set of number flash cards in Te Reo Maori - accompanied by a poem booklet last year. They won the YES regional title for 2017.
This year, the company has built on the concept, developing an app for the cards, including audio of the poems. Wider Horizons worked with a technology company in the Netherlands to add the new component. “The experience made us look at the business from another perspective,” says team member Amia Wharry.
Wider Horizons earned $13,000 in revenue and $6700 in profit from selling 455 sets of cards at $38.90 each. The group targeted early childhood centres and also has the cards at the national museum, Te Papa, in Wellington. Wharry says the team wanted to share Maori language with New Zealand’s youngest learners. “When we were growing up, we didn’t have a lot of opportunity to learn Te Reo.”
Parent Tania Wharry says the team’s motivation and determination was inspiring. “They’re amazing young women. There’s a lot of correspondence going on, they’re constantly communicating with each other. I’m really, really proud to see this.”
Little Koko, also from Otumoetai College, created a natural fruit snack called Rollies to replace a beloved, old-fashioned, sugary product no longer available for Kiwi kids’ lunchboxes. The team won the annual Mashup competition and sold more than 90 units at the Seriously Good Food Show in June.
Members of another Otumoetai team, Ember, wanted to tell the Bay of Plenty’s story through sandblasted glass cheese boards with an image of Mount Maunganui. The group made $1000 in sales at $29.99 per board, crafting the product themselves.
Another OTC team, Berry Good, created a gourmet chocolate bar infused with blueberry oil. They launched at the food show, and also sold product at the Spring Home Show.
Otumoetai Head of the Business Department Nyssa Poffley is in her twelfth year of coaching Young Enterprise Scheme students. The nationwide programme is open to Year 12 and 13 students who set up and run a real business during the school year. Poffley enjoys helping YES participants navigate challenges and can never predict which team will win. She mentions a team that struggled during the Business Pitch event in July, but has since made tremendous progress. “Berry Good...worked really hard to raise $647 for prostate cancer and having that passion has been quite great to see. It hasn’t all been about profit… At the stalls, they’re actually engaging with the customers.”
Aquinas College’s Rugged team developed and marketed an environmentally-friendly deodorant containing essential oils and shea butter. It sold for $11.99 and earned $1800 in revenue.
This year’s regional winner was Tilks New Zealand. The Otumoetai College duo were inspired to create a vegan spread after seeing more and more of their friends on special diets. Year 12 students Shayla Holloway and Louise Bremner used the trendy coconut as a base for a new organic salted caramel spread.
“We wanted to create something that included everyone,” says Bremner.
Tilks sourced ingredients, packaging and promotional materials domestically and sent the product to Massey University for analysis. Tilks launched at the food show earlier this year. A 200-gram jar of spread sells for $7.99, and the team has sold 172 units, for sales of $1326.
Mentor Karen Smillie says she’s impressed with Tilks’ perseverance and confidence, even after three of five team members dropped out in August. “I saw the pressure on the remaining members. And I was a bit fearful of how they would cope, because there were a lot of elements to the project. But they kept going, they were passionate. That’s all you need.”
Parent Glen Holloway pulls a jar of salted caramel spread from his bag to show Venture Centre: “There it is: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan...They smashed it. Yeah, it’s very cool.”
Tilks co-founders Bremner and Holloway laugh as they explain the best part of the YES competition: winning. Bremner adds they enjoyed receiving messages from people who wanted to order more spread. “It’s just seeing all the happy customers.”
The Young Enterprise Scheme National Awards take place December 6th in Wellington.
Bay of Plenty Young Enterprise Scheme Teams Earn Special Recognition
Regional awards were presented during the Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty YES regionals October 23rd.
Market Stall Award:
- Winner: Rugged/Aquinas College
- Runner-up: Little Koko/Otumoetai College
Financial Management Award:
- Winner: Wider Horizons/Otumoetai College
- Runner-up: Ember/Otumoetai College
- Winner: OffKuts/Tauranga Girls College
- Runner-up: Tilks New Zealand/Otumoetai College
- Winner: Mugshot Coffee/Papamoa College
- Runner-up: Rugged/Aquinas College
1st Equals: Ethan Mackay, Rugged/Papamoa College
Skye Lunson, Offkuts/Tauranga Girls College