Budding entrepreneurs breaking into Cambridge market

The Zalamero team, from left – Yohani Simpkin, McKenzie Clare, Brock Dunn, Jethro Malcolm and Beatrice Judd

A group of young, budding entrepreneurs are taking the business world by storm, going above and beyond what was required of them as part of the 2017 Young Enterprise Scheme to create their own real-world business, which is now serving the Cambridge community.

Brock Dunn and McKenzie Clare say they’ve learned a lot over the past few months during the development of their new business, Eureka Zalamero Smoothies.  The year 13 business students were part of a group of five who developed the concept plan for the 2017 Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), which won them a prestigious marketing award out of 28 schools.

In fact the word “YES” was something they’ve learned to say along the way, as it was saying “yes” and making the most of every opportunity which has enabled the savvy students to get to where they are today.

“Ultimately it’s about relationships and networking,” says Brock Dunn, Operations Manager of the Zalamero business team. “You’ve just got to take every opportunity that comes to you and run with it. You may not get the sale but you will come away with a valuable industry contact, and advice.”

His colleague McKenzie Clare, CEO, adds, “We could know everything about our product and the market but if you don’t know anyone or have any contacts you won’t be able to get very far.”

Brock Dunn, Phil Mackay and McKenzie Clare give the new smoothie a taste outside Rouge Cafe.

You can see a sparkle in the eyes of these two young men as they explain their business journey so far and their goals for the future, whilst sitting in the sunshine outside Rouge Café in Cambridge.

“If we didn’t know Phil Mackay we probably wouldn’t be here now, and if we didn’t know Jan Bilton we probably wouldn’t have a product, so really we’ve learned that it’s all about talking to people.”

The Zalamero team originally met Phil Mackay, the owner of Rouge, during the business proposal round of YES 2017, where they presented their business case to a panel of judges in a similar style to the TV show, Dragon’s Den.

After they won the regional competition and went on to fully develop their product, they kept in touch with Phil and in recent weeks have begun stocking the new Zalamero “Berry Bezerk” smoothie at Rouge café.

They hope to introduce the bottled smoothie to other cafes and food industry businesses in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and in the coming months plan on developing their next flavour, the “Green Kiwi”.

Renowned Bite magazine and Cambridge News food writer Jan Bilton helped the team develop their three smoothie recipes, which also includes “Tropical Trivia”. The students had tried creating all sorts of different recipes of their own, but it was Jan who helped them to develop three different recipes for a delicious, healthy smoothie which is also dairy free and gluten free.

The “Berry Bezerk” Zalamero Eureka Smoothie.

“It has a 30 day shelf life but it tastes like real, homemade fresh smoothie; it’s thick, it’s fruity, it’s not watered down, it’s a real, fresh, delicious smoothie. And that’s because of the packaging method.”

During the packaging process the finished smoothie is subjected to 87,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) – a mind boggling amount of high pressure packaging which basically explodes all the potential germs and kills any bad bacteria. “But at the same time it doesn’t affect the flavour, so it’s pretty unique,” says Brock. “And the only preservative used is a natural preservative, called ascorbic acid which is vitamin C, so it’s an extra health benefit too.”

The Zalamero team, which includes three other young entrepreneurs; Jethro Malcolm (Finances), Beatrice Judd (Marketing), and Yohani Simpkin (Communications) – all year 13 students at Eureka’s Westmount School (Waikato Campus), near Tauwhare – hopes to get as many people possible tasting and talking about the new smoothie, which is aimed at the higher-end food market and would retail for around $7.

“Once you’ve tasted it for yourself and heard our story, we think most people would be willing to buy it,” says Brock. “It’s just trying to convince the average person on the street to go in and try it and enjoy it.”

The new smoothie, Berry Bezerk, is available at Rouge Cambridge and the Zalamero team welcome any other members of the food industry to get in touch if they’d like to stock or try the product for themselves.

To find out more, visit “Zalamero Eureka Smoothies” on Facebook and on their website, www.zalamero.co.nz.

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