New Zealand
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Teen Entrepreneurs Spend Their Weekend Tackling Real World Business Problems

Over the weekend 60 secondary students from across Aotearoa participated in ’Entrepreneurs in Action’ (EIA), a business competition run by Young Enterprise Trust. In teams, the students were mentored by New Zealand businesses and tackled two business challenges that harnessed their innovative thinking to solve real world problems.

On Friday, they tackled the “Pūrākau Challenge”, where they pitched their ideas for new businesses that blended Māori pūrākau (traditional stories) with contemporary business. Māori pūrākau are incredible sources of knowledge that are handed down through generations. The teams sought guidance from local experts, engaged with Māori communities and honoured the sacredness of the stories throughout this challenge.

The winning team was Team Creative HQ who impressed the judges with the way they recognised the impact of people over product with their idea for ‘He aha taku korero’ – a journal to empower Rangitahi to become more aware of what is happening not only inside but also around them.

The winning team members were Ava Aitken (James Hargest College), Bess Cuddon-Corlet (Marlborough Girls’ College), Breanna Lethbridge (Massey High School), Donny Aiono (Wellington College), Elisa Harley (Wellington Girls’ College) and Jacob Chetwin (Te Awamutu College).

On Saturday, they took on the “Aotearoa ki te Ao” Challenge issued by Te Taurapa Tūhono (NZTE). Students were given mock businesses and presented their cases on whether they should expand into Australia or Europe.

Team Creative HQ took out this challenge as well, becoming the third team in EIA history to win both challenges across the weekend. The judges were impressed with their proposal to expand a fictional beef company into the German market which included a thorough market analysis and research into distribution channels.

Every EIA participant received a $1,000 Massey University scholarship, and because they won both challenges, Team Creative HQ received an additional $6,000 in scholarships each.

Students were mentored by 1 of 10 leading New Zealand organisations, including One NZ, Xero, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and Deloitte. The teams spent Saturday working from their company hosts premise gaining real world insight into different working environments.

EIA is designed to develop students’ soft skills which are becoming increasingly sought after by employers. These skills will be crucial for our young people in their future pathways. This authentic learning experiencing will support them through their next steps, whether that be moving into tertiary study, employment or continuing their entrepreneurial journey.

EIA participants were chosen from over 125 applicants who are all participants in The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) programme. They represented a total of 53 schools, from across 22 regions. The YES programme has over 4,700 participants, who create and run their own businesses throughout the school year as part of the programme.

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