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Young businesswomen rivals for honours

Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards Media Release

25 August 2008 – for immediate release


Young businesswomen rivals for honours

At 27 years old Nalisha Patel owns a successful and growing business consulting and educating in the area of health and wellbeing.

Marguerite Howlett, 22, is founder of The Renaissance School of Dance, a growing company that teaches jazz, tap, hip hop and contemporary dance to young people throughout the community.

Each is remarkable for their achievements at such an early age, and each is a contender for the title of Manukau City Council’s Young Businessperson of the Year at the Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards next week.

Testament to the entrepreneurial streak that each possesses is a desire to succeed in their chosen areas from a young age. Nalisha began educating herself in health and fitness from age fifteen, listening to motivational audio tapes in her car, whilst Marguerite decided that she would be a dancer at age five when she won her first talent quest.

For both it has paid off. Marguerite’s dance school has 110 students taking regular classes, whilst HealthMastery hires eight personal trainers on contract. The Renaissance Dance School has its own dedicated premises, and HealthMastery has clients all over Auckland, and nationwide.

Both Marguerite and Nalisha have used business mentors to get ahead: Nalisha has sought out the advice of successful business people such as Annette Presley, and Marguerite joined a business support network, BNI, early on in her career.

And both have a holistic approach to business. HealthMastery seeks to focus on the mind as well as shaping the body, and The Renaissance School of Dance reaches out to the community by spreading the ‘joy of dance’ and helping young people to pursue a healthy interest that is out of the ordinary.

Nalisha is forthright about her ambition: “Our vision is to create a global organisation that empowers people to look after their own health and wellbeing,” she says, stating that she hopes to franchise the company in order to help more people reach potential through wellbeing.

Likewise Marguerite has big long term goals she is passionate about, namely to reach more of the community by opening a second studio in Manurewa, and to obtain a PhD in Dance.

The Manukau City Council Young Businessperson of the Year Award is one of 13 titles that will be presented at the Gala Dinner for the Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards on Friday 5 September.

Manukau City Council instigated the Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards 16 years ago to recognise, encourage and assist business growth and development.  Sponsors of the Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards include the Wiri Licensing Trust, Marley New Zealand Ltd, Brookfields Lawyers, EMA, COGITA, Auckland International Airport Limited, RSM Prince, Hubbard Foods Ltd, ACC and the Manukau Community Foundation. Manukau City Council and Westpac are the major sponsors of these awards, which are delivered on behalf of the council by Enterprising Manukau. 

Tickets to the Gala Dinner can be purchased by phoning Enterprising Manukau on 09 262 2244, or by visiting





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