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YES 2019 successfully Kickstarted

Last Friday (1st of March) Ara hosted hundreds of young and eager entrepreneurs from across Canterbury at a successful Kickstart / Tīmata 2019 event. It was the beginning of the 56th annual Young Enterprise Scheme (YES).

As part of the YES program secondary students are introduced to the concepts of developing, setting up and running a business over the course of a year.

With over 600 students from 21 high schools signed up to participate in the competition, Canterbury is once more the region with the highest number of secondary school-aged YES applicants.

Commerce Teacher at St Andrew’s College Steve Aldhamland, who attended the Kickstart event at Ara, said it was a fabulous day that gave students a great overview of the resources and competitions that will follow in the year ahead.

Matt Benassi, who teaches Business Studies at Cashmere High School in Christchurch, said the highlight of Kickstart was seeing his students interact with members of the business community through the speed coaching sessions.

“The young entrepreneurs got valuable insight into their business ideas and made real business connections. It's amazing to see students who were apprehensive and nervous before they talked to the business coaches, go to students that are brimming with confidence and excited to get on with the next aspect of their business. And this was just the start of the YES program!”

The students are going to have access to mentors from their school or external industry experts to help them work through strategy, product or service development, finance and marketing aspects. Speed Coach Roger Forde was involved as a first time mentor in the event and he was impressed with the commitment the students brought to YES.

“The young people I was lucky enough to talk to, show a social empathy and sensitivity that makes my heart sing. Great thinking, innovation and conscience about making a societal and environmental difference, just awesome!”

Following the Kickstart event the young entrepreneurs will continue to work on bringing their business to life. The top six teams will compete at the Regional Finals in October, pitching their idea in front of a panel of judges for a spot to represent Canterbury at the National Final.

YES helps to develop not just business but also life skills: financial responsibility, the importance of relationships and moderating risks are only some of the previously recorded learnings.

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.

Previous YES teams have gone on to run successful businesses and well known business people such as the CEO of Kiwibank, the founder of Eat My Lunch and the creator of the Charlie’s Juice empire have all completed the Young Enterprise Scheme.

If you would like to learn more about the many ways you can support the Young Enterprise Scheme in Canterbury please contact

The scheme is supported and sponsored by the following businesses:


Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand


UC Business

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce

Mel Banfield Graphic Designer

Ernst and Young


Dream Believe Succeed


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