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Focused teens the business people of tomorrow

Colour HB

Captains of industry: Rebecca Jackson, Kendyll Miller, Imke Kitchin and Marleen Slabbekoorn, with YES mentor Paul Collits.

Some of the most successful business ideas are relatively simple – but to succeed they need to be carried out exceptionally well.

That philosophy was employed by the winners of this year’s Hawke’s Bay regional Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) competition. The Havelock North Colour Hawke’s Bay team (Rebecca Jackson, Kendyll Miller, Imke Kitchin and Marleen Slabbekoorn) will take their winning colouring book, featuring Hawke’s Bay businesses, to the national Young Enterprise Scheme final in December.

Judging panel member and Hastings District Council economic development manager Lee Neville said the idea was simple but well executed. “It met the current trend in the market for adult colouring products, had a unique Hawke’s Bay flavour, and was produced very professionally.

“Another of its advantages was that it was very scalable – both in terms of numbers, so being able to easily increase the print run, and in being able to pick another region and use the same format to produce a unique product for that area.”

More than 200 students in 50-plus teams from 12 Hawke’s Bay secondary schools entered the regional competition, which saw each team set up a company and come up with a product or service, receive mentoring, research any relevant laws or bylaws (particularly related to food and drink products), format business and communications plans, organise production and enter a mini-competition which saw the winners collect financial prizes to help them further their business plans.

The national competition has been held annually since the 1980s. It was designed to give year 12 and 13 students hands on “very real” business experience that provided them with skills and knowledge they would take into adulthood, said YES regional coordinator Karla Lee.

Market research prior to deciding on a product was crucial to success, she said. “In business you must do this type of research. The teams need to be sure their product is something people will want to buy and that it has a point of difference from other like-products on the market.”

That was where the Colour Hawke’s Bay team excelled. “They have been innovative, focused and determined throughout the year. They present their product and philosophy really well, which will stand them in very good stead at the nationals. We are all really excited at their prospects,” said Ms Lee.

Hastings District Council supports the programme. The sponsorship fits within Council’s economic development aims which included encouraging business education. Council’s economic development and urban affairs committee chairman Damon Harvey, said the success of Hastings teens in the competition boded well for the region’s future. Of the 12 schools which entered, eight were from Hastings. Hastings schools won six of the seven categories.

“Having so many Hastings schools and students involved in the competition is fantastic. As our region grows we need people who have real skills in business and a flair for entrepreneurship. These youngsters now have some of the attributes that they can take into the future, in whatever field they decide on.”

Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) has also long been an active supporter of the programme providing mentors and teaching staff for the students. This year it has received 21 applications for Year 1 Bachelor of Business Studies Scholarships into its School of Business; at least in part attributable to the YES programme, said marketing director Brenda Chapman. “Our region’s business community is predominantly made up of small to medium enterprises and they need people who are adaptable and talented. The YES programme is a beautiful incubator for developing these skills and a prefect bridge between high schools and EIT for those interested in business. It also provides the students with skills to be able to create their own business and continue to live and thrive in our fabulous region.”

The winners of the seven categories, announced on October 17:

YES Company of the Year (overall winner): Colour Hawke’s Bay (Havelock North High School)
Best Farmers Market Award: Colour Hawke’s Bay (Havelock North High School)
Innovative Sales and Marketing Award: Saucy Boys (Karamu High School)
Business Commitment Award: BRUTHAS (St Johns College and Youth Prisoners)
Teamwork Award: Secure Cycles (Hastings Christian School)
Entrepreneur of the Year: Connor Beere, Tihi Plus (Tamatea High School)
National Excellence Award: Jake Dunn, BRUTHAS (St Johns College and Youth Prisoners)

1 November 2017

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