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On the Road to Inspire Innovation

On the Road to Inspire Innovation

The inventive brains behind Woods - The Creative Agency and product development company Locus Research are hitting the road over the next few weeks to spread the message about the importance of innovation to students in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty, as part of the 2014 Young Innovator Awards (YiA).

YIA aims to inspire and engage secondary school students and younger people starting or building their careers in the process of innovative thinking and problem solving by coming up with a design for a new or improved product or service. Interest in the awards has grown in size and scope each year and they are now well recognised and supported across the region.

The roadshow is to encourage students from the 10 secondary schools in the sub-region, as well as those studying through the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, to take up the challenge, think outside the square and enter the awards.

The first stop was at Mount Maunganui College, where Stephen Finnegan, strategic writer for Woods - The Creative Agency spoke to two enthusiastic classes about YIA. Stephen said "It's pleasing to visit schools and see students embracing what the competition is about, and realising what a great opportunity they have to be innovators right here in the Bay."

After hearing Stephen’s talk, Mount Maunganui College student Abbie Bluck was excited about the prospect of entering YIA this year. She said it gave her the opportunity to create something no one has thought of before. As YIA is unique to the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region, Mount Maunganui student Ra Neilsford–Jones said “It makes us feel special because we get the opportunity to show off our ideas.”

Mount Maunganui College science teacher, Gemma Rice, has had a number of students successfully enter YIA in previous years. She said the awards are a wonderful way to motivate and inspire the next generation to be creative problem solvers, and believe in the value of their own ideas.

The Young Innovator Awards (YiA) were established in 2009 by the Instep programme, which is an initiative of economic development agency Priority One. Instep harnesses the energy and expertise from local businesses to encourage secondary school students to make informed career choices.

The success of the YiA comes down to strong collaboration between Instep, key partners Locus Research and Woods - The Creative Agency, and the local business and education communities. This year’s sponsors are Careers NZ, Plus Group Horticulture, Page Macrae Engineering, Priority One, Bayfair and Enterprise Angels.

To find out more about YIA visit


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