Young Enterprise Scheme – Entrepreneurs in Action (EiA) 2023

Year 13 student Ava Aitken (pictured 2nd from right) was selected for the EiA workshop held in Wellington, which took place from 30 June to 2 July. Ava and her fellow 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 students were placed in teams of six, with other students they had just met. In these teams, they were mentored by New Zealand businesses and tackled two business challenges that harnessed their innovative thinking to solve real world problems. On Friday 30 June, all of the teams were based at Massey University in Wellington where they tackled the “Pūrākau Challenge”, where they pitched their ideas for new businesses that blended Pūrākau Māori (Māori traditional stories) with contemporary business. Pūrākau Māori 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 students only had one day to develop their business plan and come up with a 5-minute pitch for their new business idea, and we were impressed by the quality of their presentations and the depth of their thinking. Ava was part of the winning team 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. Once the winning team was announced on Friday evening, the students were given the details of their second challenge, the “Aotearoa ki te Ao” Challenge issued by Te Taurapa Tūhono (NZTE). Students were asked to choose between two mock businesses and present a case about whether the business should expand into Australia or Europe. On Saturday 1 July, students were invited to work on the challenge from their corporate hosts’ offices, which gave the students an insight into what it is like to work in the business environment. Team Creative HQ were crowned the winners of Challenge Two, 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. 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 experience will support them through their next steps, whether that be moving into tertiary study, employment or continuing their entrepreneurial journey. Ka mau te wehi Ava for all your work and congratulations on your success.