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Young Entrepreneurs launch businesses at market

Artistic road cones, a mental health cookbook featuring a recipe from Jacinda Ardern and biodegradable gelatine-based alternatives to plastic laminating pouches and food wrap were just some of the products on show at yesterday’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Market, hosted by Ara Institute of Canterbury.

YES sees senior secondary school-aged entrepreneurs set up and run real businesses over the course of a year.

In Canterbury, there have been 540 registrations from senior secondary school students culminating in 130 businesses, 35 of whom attended the market to tout their wares and officially launch their businesses to the public.

There is a common theme running through many of the projects, which is a passion for a better future, whether that is by tackling issues of sustainability, mental health or exploring social enterprise.

Tamara Hill, a year 13 student from Cashmere High School is part of the business Christchurch Cones.

“We really wanted to make something that could make Christchurch beautiful again and what we’ve come up with is traffic cones. So we’re going to get people from the community and our school to design and paint the cones themselves and then they’re going to be put in people’s gardens and around the city. We’re also thinking of doing this on letterboxes as well,” she said.

Georgia Mitchell, a year 13 student from Darfield High School, is the CEO of NZ Happy.
“We’ve created a Mental Health Cookbook which is a combination of New Zealand recipes, stories, tips and quotes, and our aim is to raise awareness around mental health and make it more comfortable to talk about. Even Jacinda Ardern has given us a recipe- which is pretty exciting!”

Each cookbook will sell for $15, with 20% of profits going towards the Mental Health Foundation.

This is the second year of the partnership between Ara and YES, and Idoia Alday Gonzalez, Canterbury YES regional coordinator, employed by Ara, is pleased that the Canterbury region is leading in participant numbers.

“One of Ara’s goals since the start of the partnership has been to increase the awareness of the impact YES has on our young people in the region and the skills they learn through this wonderful scheme. There are few programmes that allow youth to go through a whole year of experiential learning that teaches students life-long skills through challenges that otherwise may take years to be exposed to. We are currently succeeding at this and the scheme has more supporters than ever before.”

The programme aligns closely with the Ara approach of experiential, real world learning, which helps to develop problem solving, leadership and communication skills alongside core competencies.

“YES helps to develop not just business, but also life skills. Through their YES journey, students learn valuable skills such as financial responsibility, the importance of relationships and moderating risks. As these students complete their education and go on to participate in our workforce and in our communities, these skills will be highly valued,” Alday Gonzalez says.

Now that the students have attended the market day, it is time to put pen to paper. Over the next three months, the students will be working on their marketing campaigns, sales and producing an annual review. The top six teams to emerge from the Canterbury competition will go on to compete at the regional finals in October, facing a panel of judges and a large audience.

The stakes are high for the students who have their eyes on the prize. YES funds the competition with a national prize pool of more than $25,000, as well as regional awards, cash prizes and tertiary scholarships. Regionally Ara will be sponsoring several excellence awards, as well as prizes for the winning team and the runners up.

The scheme is supported and sponsored by the following businesses:

• Ara

• Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

• Ricoh

• UC Business

• Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce

• Mel Banfield Graphic Designer

• Ernst and Young

• Flight

• Dream Believe Succeed


There will be another Canterbury Market Day in Tūranga on 15 September.


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