Young entrepreneurs make finals

The two student teams heading to the Waikato Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Annual Awards, pictured with their products. Back row: Will Stephens, Alex Thomas, Bodie Mechell, Bianca Rayner. Front row: Torbin Stevenson, Isabella Du Plessis, Sophie Brittenden and Juliet Fordyce.

A team of St Peter’s entrepreneurs who created their own business product have been named finalists in the Waikato Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Annual Awards. The Get Heated business team of Sophie Brittenden, Juliet Fordyce, Bianca Rayner, Maddy Wilson and Berber De Boer were selected to attend the awards this month after designing and creating a full-body wearable blanket.

Another St Peter’s team dubbed Hurban Oasis – made up of Will Stephens, Alex Thomas, Bodie Mechell, Torbin Stevenson, Isabella Du Plessis and Tom Montgomery – made hydroponic grow kits. They also made the running for an award.

Their business studies teacher Chris Macleod said the students had been proactive and diligent in their projects, working independently outside of class time. “They’ve just got on and done it,” she said.

The Get Heated team found their wearable blankets to be quite popular among their fellow students, family and friends, with just two left to sell. The hardest part they said was finding someone to make their initial protype, so Juliet’s grandmother Judy Fordyce created the pattern and first item, which the girls then took to Lina’s Clothing Alterations in Hamilton East to make their stock. They said selling their product was the most exciting part, as well as seeing their customers using them and getting feedback. “Because we’re all invested in it, we all wanted it to do well,” said Juliet.

Having started the project in early March, they’ve learned a bit about working effectively as a group, and how “organisation is key in a business,” Bianca said. They said they were “fairly confident” ahead of their final pitch to the finals judges. “We weren’t to start with but as we started to put out pitch slides together, it showed us the quality of our work, and how much we’ve done,” Bianca said.

Inspired to create a kitchen windowsill version of hydroponic farming, the Hurban Oasis team were relieved to see their plant alive and thriving after they accidentally left it in the classroom over the school holidays. Their design features a water pump and nutrient release system that grows plants in water, in their case growing parsley and coriander.

“It was quite hard, it was a lot harder than we thought,” said Alex. “We broke even, we didn’t make as much money as we thought we would… but we did make a small profit.”

The students were amongst 200 high schoolers from around the region who took part in the competition, including four other teams from St Peter’s.

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