Young Entrepreneurs pave the way with community solutions to big problems

Ākonga (students) from six colleges show us how it’s done and won’t let the pandemic stop them from innovating and making an impact in their local communities. The Young Enterprise Scheme has sparked the entrepreneurial spirit in over 160 students in the Western Bay of Plenty running 28 new companies this year and they are only just getting started! 

Addressing problems in waste management, sustainability, dental hygiene, breast cancer, youth mental health, and creating cultural awareness by passing on local legends, these students are doing the work and creating a better future for themselves and their whānau one business idea at a time. 

YES Regional Finals and Awards

What an amazing night, 5 Young Enterprise teams pitched and 14 teams received awards during the YES Western Bay of Plenty Regional Finals held on Wednesday 20th October 2021.

Teachers, mentors and supporters were present and we celebrated together in gala style at Club Mount Maunganui. We have been lucky enough to gather in person to celebrate a year of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Judges Riann Umaga-Marshall (Convex Accounting Director), Jack Shennan (Edapt co-founder and director / Entrepreneur) and Leon Fourie (Toi-Ohomai Chief Executive) joined us for the night to evaluate the pitches from the 5 best performing teams this year and provide valuable feedback.

Entrepreneur and Venture Centre Project Lead Kendra Stone was the MC for the night with support from Aquinas College YES Alumni Anmoldeep Khakh. They both shared their entrepreneurial journeys with the students and agreed that starting your own business is one of the best ways to make an impact and kickstart your career.

YES Western Bay of Plenty Finalists

B’well (Tauranga Girls’ College) A problem identified and validated by seven students at was a growing lack of wellbeing among youth. This was the stimulus to form the Young Enterprise Company B'Well to produce and market “THE BEING BOOK”. The Being Book is a tool to empower youth to boost their wellbeing outcomes.

Kiwi Kick (Otūmetai College) is giving kiwis a healthy and convenient way to eat the kiwi fruit they love while reducing food waste. They created a kiwi fruit gel from kiwi fruit that can’t be sold to save the fruit from landfill and allow consumers to experience the benefits of kiwi fruit all year round and boost their immunity. 

Smyle  (Otūmetai College) has a mission to make an appealing flavoured flossing product that will forever change the approach to children’s oral care. Their vision is to encourage every child in New Zealand to integrate floss into their daily routines by creating an eco-friendly, strawberry flavoured dental floss. 

Toi Matauranga  (Otūmetai College) has a mission to produce an interactive and engaging colouring in book, that brings awareness to Te Reo Maori, and increases bilinguality in New Zealand’s youth. Toi Matauranga has produced a story book sharing the legend of Mauao with three key components adding educational value to our product: Literacy, Interactive, Listening.

Zealous Candles (Tauranga Boys’ College)  is dedicated to educating Kiwis on breast cancer’s effects and how to detect it early by donating 25% of their profits to the Breast Cancer Foundation. Unlike other candle businesses, Zealous Candles provides customisation for consumers, allowing them to create their own unique and desirable candle. 


Every YES year the teams complete 5 YES Challenges, the challenges consist of business elements they have to complete and explore like: Validation, Pitching, Promotion, Sales and writing and Annual Review. We’d like to congratulate all the students for receiving their awards and completing the YES year with flying colours!

The following awards were given on the night to recognise the wealth of achievements during the YES 2021: 

Best Product Presentation - Runner up: Kiwi Kick, Otumoetai College
Best Product Presentation - Winner: Mārū, Aquinas College
Financial Management Award - Runner up: Kiwi Kick, Otumoetai College
Financial Management Award - Winner: Zealous Candles, Tauranga Boys College
Teamwork Award - Runner up: UrEco, Otumoetai College
Teamwork Award - Winner: Te Puke Autowash, Te Puke High School
Innovation Award - Runner up: BACKROW, Aquinas College
Innovation Award - Winner: Chappy, Otumoetai College
Venture Centre Community Benefit Award - Runner up: Undercover, Aquinas College
Venture Centre Community Benefit Award - Winner: B’Well, Tauranga Girls College
Biggest Contributor - Winner: Zealous Candles, Tauranga Boys College
WBOP Entrepreneur of the Year - Winner: Rachel Dunn, Otumoetai College

YES Extreme Experiences

During the YES year students have the opportunity to apply for Extreme Experiences organised by YES nationally. 

Max Irving from Tauranga Boys College didn’t pass on any opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship and signed up for the YES LatAm Cape trip. He shared his experience of travelling for 10 days with a group of YES students from all around the country to visit Businesses in Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin that have ties and do business with Latin America. He was also immersed in Latin American culture through food, dance and learning Spanish. 

Neisha Moore from Otumoetai College applied to go to the Entrepreneurs in Action weekend and had a great time problem solving with the Spark team in Wellington. Being part of a weekend making impact and sharing ideas sparked excitement and helped her tackle her own business ideas with her team. 

The Runner up is...

Congratulations to Toi Matauranga from Otumoetai College! The judges were impressed by the social and cultural cause they have chosen to impact by creating a colouring-in book that features Māori stories and legends. 

And the Regional winner is…

Kiwi Kick from Otumoetai College! They delivered an outstanding pitch and convinced the judges that they are the team to tackle the challenge of kiwifruit waste. Kiwi Kick will be representing our region at the YES National Finals on 15 December.

We would like to thank our local sponsors Baytrust and Toi-Ohomai for making this event possible and for their ongoing support of the YES program in the Western Bay of Plenty. 
YES Western Bay of Plenty is delivered by Venture Centre with Regional Coordinators Pascale Hyboud-Peron and Emelie Verseput. 


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