The Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) is an annual program undertaken by thousands of high school students throughout New Zealand.

Young Enterprise 1

Year 12 & 13 students set up and run their own businesses – developing invaluable skills along the way. Te Tumu Paeroa are sponsors of the Young Enterprise Scheme He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Award for Rangatahi Entrepreneurs. The award recognises the highest achieving Young Enterprise team whose members are Māori.

This year’s program kicked off in February with an E-Day. These workshops, held up and down the country, bring students together to begin developing their business ideas.

We popped in to a recent E-Day held at Pipitea Marae, Wellington where YES Regional Co-ordinator Gavin Miller was on hand to explain the Young Enterprise Scheme.

Creating the business model

“[E-Day] is Day 1. The students are here to ideate, create, innovate and design their ideas and start creating their business model.

Young Enterprise 2“We’ve got about 50 mentors here from the local business community, who’re in here talking to students. They’re sound-boarding their ideas, working out whether their idea’s great, or if they could be thinking in another direction. And they’re there to assist and give guidance and positive support.”

The students then take what they develop on E-Day, and throughout the school year, make them into a reality.

Gavin says, “They’ll take their business idea and turn it into a real business model in the next couple of weeks – bringing it to life. They have to start funding and we put them into a Dragon’s Den competition in term two.

“There’s nothing theoretical about this. It’s a real program with real profits, real loss, real capital – the whole lot.”


Developing practical skills

Young Enterprise 3One of the many success stories from last year’s Young Enterprise Scheme was Mana College’s Keeping It Natural. Lead by CEO Anita Waiariki, the business won YES regional awards for both Sustainable Practice and Enterprising Innovation Awards. They manufacture their product, a kawakawa ointment, on the Mana College marae.

The company is back in 2017 hoping to build on last year’s successes. This year they’re looking to develop a kawakawa sunscreen and a kawakawa drink.

“They’ve looked at what worked well and some of the things they can improve on. Now they’re taking that next step, building on what they created last year,” says Mana College Business studies teacher Bruce Bennett.

“Last year was an amazing experience for the group. You could see their confidence just grow and grow over the year. It’s a great learning opportunity for them and it helps them develop good, practical skills.”


Students rising to the challenge

Gavin Miller says the Young Enterprise Scheme may put students under a lot of pressure, but they have a track record of rising to the occasion.

“We’ve seen students just blossom. From being completely unable to speak to three or four people in a room, to commanding a presence in front of 200 people for 20 minutes.”

“You feel so inspired at the end of the year. You see these students and you see what they’ve made happen. There are literally thousands of students who are so capable, and so able to step into the business roles that they didn’t even think possible. Whether it be managing a team in an existing business or starting their own and employing 500 people.”


A building block for future careers

Shar Amner is the General Manager of mānuka honey business Te Tumu Miere, a subsidiary of Te Tumu Paeroa. Shar took part in the Young Enterprise Scheme when he was at school and now volunteers as a mentor. He’s full of praise for the program.

“I went through YES when I was at school and it had a huge impact on me. Putting together a business plan, negotiating, working with a team, production, sales, time management – everything. These are all skills YES helped me learn and was a building block to my career.

“Young Enterprise is a great program for Te Tumu Paeroa to get behind and sponsor. At the end of the year you have these students with skills that they’ll continue to use and build on in their careers. The talent that comes about through YES is just amazing!” says Shar.