Young entrepreneurs take up the challenge

The Foundation’s Wellington office was a hive of innovation and creativity over the weekend as six young entrepreneurs competed against teams from around the country to come up with ideas for this year’s Young Enterprise Trust challenge.

Watch a slideshow of the team competing over the weekend

2020 is the fifth year the Foundation has supported a team taking part in in the challenge, which provides high school students with a taste of the world of start-up businesses.

This year, the teams were set two challenges: design a market entry strategy to export goods to United Arab Emirates and come up with ideas to get more young people into tourism.

The Foundation’s team was mentored by Leadership Network member Kate Randhawa, staff members Adam McConnochie and Ryan Smith, and Finn McCabe, who competed last year as part of the Foundation’s team.

Kate says she wanted to be a mentor for the team as it was “an opportunity to support rangatahi grow and develop as future leaders.”

“The action-packed weekend was designed to develop the students' teamwork, innovation and leadership skills. As a mentor, we supported our team to develop these skills and share our diverse perspectives on the challenge.”

A team member talking to the group

The challenges required the team to collaborate well and work to each others strengths

On day one of the challenge, the team was tasked with formulating a business plan to export produce to the United Arab Emirates.

The challenge was not only to decide what to sell but also required the teams to ensure their business plan was viable by calculating the costs involved in the enterprise. This included calling freight companies and testing their ideas with with NZTE regional director Middle East Africa and South Asia, Tony Martin.

“The team rallied, and they were soon choosing the best mix of products and services for export,” says the Foundation’s project officer entrepreneurship Ryan Smith.

"Not only is it a fantastic opportunity for the students to test out their entrepreneurial wits, but it's also a great opportunity for Leadership Network members to give back and develop their own leadership journey," he says. 

On day two, the challenge was to come up with ways to get more students into the tourism sector. The team came up with the concept of HOT – Hands on Tourism.

Modelled off the Enterprise in Action school programme, the concept of HOT was to provide tangible projects for students to work on in school and give them real world experience and access to leading industry mentors. The concept involved tying the tourism modules to pre-existing unit standards to ensure clear pathways into university.

“The team cleverly used their own experiences with studying tourism in school to pitch their solution to the judges, and even though they went first, their presentation was so memorable they ended up taking out second place!” Ryan says.

A team member sitting in front of a lap top talking to her team

Kate: “The action-packed weekend was designed to develop the student’s teamwork, innovation and leadership skills."

Kate says she was impressed by the team’s cohesion, critical thinking and presentation skills.

“The most memorable moment was the team practice prior to the final presentation. The team effectively incorporated feedback from the day prior, developed their own innovative solutions and shone with enthusiasm.”

She says one thing that really stood out for her about mentoring the high school students was their “obsession” with social media platform TikTok. “I had to film a TikTok at one point [which was] far outside my skillset.”

The Foundation’s team was comprised of Dominik Hargraves, Hutt Valley High School; Jessie Dawbin, Craighead Diocesan School, Timaru; Lucy Moffitt, Lincoln High School, Canterbury; Renz Alvez, Nayland College, Nelson; Sophie Jones, Karamu High School, Hastings; and Wirihana Croft-Malcolm, Whangarei Boys High School.