OneFortyOne New Zealand is proud to be sponsoring the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) across Te Tauihu, the Top of the South Island. YES gives students the opportunity to create and run their own practical business – in real life!
Each YES team is usually made up of four to seven students each having a specific role that covers the various aspects of a business, including CEO, Communications, Sales and Marketing, Production and Finance. YES grew out of an initiative started by the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce back in the late 1970s and aims toinspire young people to discover their potential in business and in life.
This year in Te Tauihu there are almost 150 students participating in YES from multiple schools and colleges. By setting up and running their own businesses the students have the opportunity to develop a range of important skills that will help them in their career and in life including problem solving, resilience, teamwork, leadership, creative thinking, decision-making and networking.
One of the major events for students in the YES year is the YES Pitch session, which is similar to a dragon’s den. There were two Pitch events held in the region on 23 and 24 June 2020. Each YES company team was allowed to pitch to the judging panel for 15 minutes. This year’s judging panel in Marlborough included Sue Ross, OneFortyOne New Zealand Kaituna Sawmill Supply Chain Manager, and the Nelson panel was joined by Andy Karalus, OneFortyOne New Zealand Estate Value Manager.
“I had the privilege of being one of the judges of the 2020 YES Pitch, considered by the students to be like a “Dragon’s Den” experience,” says Andy. “The Pitch is a short presentation from groups of students on their chosen business idea. They explain their corporate structure from CEO, CFO, Marketing Manager and Production Manager and present their work on market analysis, sales strategy, financial planning as well as uniqueness, innovation and vision for their business. The judging is controlled by a moderator and there is a specific points marking system to ensure that the experience is positive, constructive and unbiased.
“It was an incredibly uplifting experience for me as a judge to witness the maturity, enthusiasm and actual joy that the students brought to the Pitch. The business ideas and the groups themselves were incredibly diverse and nothing short of inspirational. I was amazed at the high standard achieved, and I have no doubt that this programme provides an excellent pathway for students to gain the confidence and experience to take on the challenge of business development and growth either in start-ups or within an existing business. Thank you to the teachers and the Chamber of Commerce for providing this opportunity to our business community, and to me personally.”
Most YES companies make a profit over the course of their year of operation, and each year, more and more students are using their YES business to make positive social or environmental change, mixing profit with purpose.
Businesses founded by YES alumni include Xero, Charlie’s, Eat my Lunch, Kea and Give a Little.
“OneFortyOne New Zealand works to create and enable sustainable prosperity in our region,” says OneFortyOne New Zealand Executive General Manager, Lees Seymour. “We do this by maintaining strong connections with our communities and by being proactive, practical stewards of our environment. To continue our success in the future we need progressive thinking, ideas, and talent.
“It’s not enough to do things as we have always done them. We need to build on our legacy of knowledge by nurturing and encouraging future thinkers and innovators. Supporting YES is an excellent way of developing emerging contributors to our business environment.”