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YES, they’re in business

Vegan cookie dough and a mental health awareness campaign were just two of the business ideas pitched by teams at the second Young Enterprise Scheme challenge.

Organiser Lena Bevan from the Gisborne Chamber of Commerce said she was pleased with the high standard of the pitches.

“Gisborne YES teams have been steadily working away at their business products and services among very busy schedules,” she said.

The pitch is worth 30 percent of the overall YES competition and this year saw five teams on the podium.

Pitches had to be five mintes long and were followed by a further five minutes of question and answer sessions with judges.

Some of the ideas were SAVED, a financial literacy app for students/schools (Lytton High School); READ, a children’s Te Reo Maori book about cars (Lytton High School); and LADY LUXE, a subscription period gift box (Gisborne Girls’ High School).

Other pitches were Fishing for a Solution, mental health awareness campaigns/products (Campion College) and East House Cookie Dough — edible, vegan cookie dough (Lytton High School).

Judges were Shanon O’Connor, director of Tonui Collab (formerly The Mind Lab), GDC councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown and Activate Tairawhiti general manager Steve Breen.

They marked each pitch against set criteria that included product/service, customer marketing and sales, production and finance, innovation and the pitch presentation.

“Watching the young people was so exciting as there was so much diversity shown through the pitches,” said Ms Akuhata-Brown.

“It was great to see what young people identify as business opportunities or problems to solve.”

Ms O’Connor said there was such a diverse range of solutions to locally relevant problems presented.

“I think we can get excited about the future with these entrepreneurs leading the change.”

This is the fourth year the Gisborne Chamber of Commerce has run the Young Enterprise Scheme, which is an experiential programme where students set up and run a real business.

Each YES company creates its own product or service and brings this to market. Through The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme, students learn about business, develop a range of skills and create networks in their community.

“As an educationalist and coordinator of YES it is important we nurture this diversity and celebrate the skills and strengths our young people have to offer and teach us as a community,” said Ms Bevan.

She thanked the judges, schools and community for supporting YES, and the Eastland Community Trust for continuing to sponsor the scheme.

PASSIONATE PITCHES: Presenting their product at the YES event was a team from Lytton High School, from left, Siahn McCarthy, Janaya Fitzsimons, Silipa Saulala and Freedym Paiti. The business is called READ and the product is a children’s book on cars in Te Reo Maori. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell