Each year, 4000 Kiwi students around the country form teams to participate in the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES). Given the opportunity to create and run a business throughout the year, teams complete a series of challenges including validation, promotion, sales and their pitch.
This year’s YES Regional Winner, Akau (Anmoldeep, Bella, Amber and Nicole from Aquinas College) created a body moisturising tube, inspired by love for their Mums.
“We wanted to give back to our wonderful mums that have done so much for us. Akau is our way of saying thank you.”
With the aim to provide convenience for busy mums like their own, their product is portable (a handbag dream) and gloriously made of 100% natural ingredients including beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil and kawakawa oil.
It was important to Akau that this convenience didn’t come at the expense of the planet. Their solution? Environmentally friendly packaging that upheld their value of kaitiakitanga (guardian and protection of the environment).
When everything came to a standstill during Covid-19 lockdown in March, Akau, like many New Zealand business owners, was quick to adapt.
“We focused on what we could do during lockdown. This meant many video calls to check up on each other and the progress we were making.”
With their strong team dynamic, lockdown became a piece of cake.
“What’s great is that each team member is equally invested in our vision, each accountable for their part. We show up ready to do the work to a high standard.”
Akau is now gearing up for the National Finals in Wellington on December 10th, refining their pitch and even making last minute changes to their product label, after advice they received from the Regional Finals judges (all whilst sitting their Year 13 exams - legends!).
Although university next year means that the running of Akau will go on the backburner, the girls are walking away with more than business skills.
Amber and Nicole have both gained more confidence. Anmoldeep has gotten comfortable being uncomfortable sharing, “Give it a go - you don’t know what’s going to happen so just do it!”.
Bella (Regional Entrepreneur of the Year) sums up the real gold gained from the YES experience.
“Being a part of YES has grown my passion for business. It’s so empowering to know that I have what it takes to run a business.”
Venture Centre has been the YES regional delivery partner since 2017, helping to nurture the entrepreneurship spirit in the next generation.