26 February 2021

High school students turned young entrepreneurs

Over 4000 New Zealand high school students are expected to launch their own business whilst taking part in The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) this year. Locally, we have around 135 students from Southland Girls’ High School, Aparima College, James Hargest College, Southland Boys’ High School, Mt Aspiring College and Wakatipu High School participating in YES.

YES is all about helping students unleash their inner entrepreneur, and as a result, students created over 1000 companies in 2020.  Many of these companies made a profit, and are still operating.  YES isn’t just about the business though, it’s also about helping students to be innovative and creative, develop work-ready skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. 

The first event of the YES year is KickStart | Timata where students are introduced to YES, have a chance to work in their YES teams to brainstorm some potential business ideas, chat through these ideas with some local business people and learn some top tips about different areas of business.

KickStart | Timata will be held in Invercargill on Tuesday 2 March, and Cromwell on Wednesday 3 March.

Southland YES Coordinátor (Student Wrangler) Joanne O’Connor saidthe ideation part is crucial as the student-led teams learn the process of starting a business, researching their respective industry, developing the product and launching their idea into the market.” She said the amount of community, and business support was outstanding. 

Mentors are sourced from the local business community to coach the students at the event and throughout the year.

YES is managed by the Young Enterprise Trust, a Wellington based charity which is focused on building a pipeline of entrepreneurial-minded young people who will boost the prosperity in New Zealand.

Locally, YES is coordinated by the Southland Chamber of Commerce, as part of their focus on business viability, with the support of Regional Partner Southern Institute of Technology (SIT). Other local sponsors include Craigs Design & Print, South Port NZ Limited, Findex, What’s on Invers, COIN South, VetSouth NZ; and community funders Community Trust South and Invercargill Licensing Trust.  

Throughout the year, events organised to support the students include KickStart | Timata, The Business Pitch,  Market Day at Southern Farmers Market, Southland Regional Awards and the official National Awards Gala Dinner in Wellington. 

Click here to learn more about YES.