The entrepreneurial spirit in the next generation of business leaders is flourishing with sustainable products and practices being developed, thanks in part to the impact of COVID-19.
High school students from across the Bay of Plenty have been working hard to develop a successful business as part of this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES).
Toi Ohomai remains a key sponsor of this event, with regional finals being held in both Tauranga and Rotorua recently.
The Rotorua finals was made up of teams competing from Rotorua, Tokoroa and Taupō while students from the Western Bay of Plenty competed in Tauranga.
As the impact of COVID-19 hit homes, schools and businesses, students taking part in YES had to try and come up with business plans, focus groups and product testing all while being in Level 4 Lockdown.
YES Tauranga Regional Co-ordinator Pascale Hyboud-Peron said the restrictions COVID-19 placed on the teams meant they had to adapt to a new way of working.
“We had teams running focus groups on Zoom and campaigns on Facebook. COVID certainly presented them with a challenge but they did remarkably well to overcome it.”
Sustainability and innovation were key themes across all the groups with the two regional winners having an environmental focus.
The winning Bay of Plenty team was Akau from Aquinas College.
Akau provides a moisturising tube that is 100% natural and environmentally friendly. They aim to give customers a reliable product that will help replenish their skin.
While the winning Rotorua/ Taupō team was Wrapt from Tauhara College.
Wrapt aims to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill by providing an edible, biodegradable, allergy-free plastic wrap alternative, available in three flavours and designed to be eaten with the food item or simply peeled off and washed away.
Both Wrapt and Akau will be representing their regions at the YES finals in Wellington on 10 December.
YES Rotorua Regional Co-ordinator Atawhai Gillies says she is proud of all the teams who took part in this year’s competition.
“Adding to the normal pressure of business studies, the students also had the pressure of COVID-19, dealing with the impacts of it on our families. One positive note however is that COVID-19, gave our students the opportunity to really think about what they wanted to do and where they are heading into the future.”
Toi Ohomai Head of Marketing, Events and Communication Jessica Barnett, who was also a judge at the Rotorua regional final, said YES was the perfect opportunity for students to experience the foundations of running their own business.
“It is a great learning experience and one we are proud to be involved with. We see such great talent and some great new business and product ideas.
“Toi Ohomai is looking forward to continuing its partnership with YES to enable the growth of youth entrepreneurs in the region.”