A honey of an idea has got five Cambridge High School students off to a flying start in the 2021 Young Enterprise Scheme (Yes).
Run by the Lion Foundation, Yes is a nationwide competition that challenges groups to create their own product or service and bring it to the market.
Participants compete in their home region first, then winners head to the national awards in Wellington to vie for a share of $23,000 in prize money.
Cambridge High School students Courtenay Baker, Sharia Anderton, Ben Radford, Isla Trower and Maddie Senior are taking part through their year 12 business studies class and have streaked out to an early lead in the Waikato competition by winning a product validation challenge.
Their company, Hive Hut, produces a range of beeswax-based lip balms, body butters, lotion bars, candles and wax melts, which have been sold online and at the Cambridge Lions Club’s Trash ‘N’ Treasure market and other Waikato markets since February.
“We wanted something with an environmental focus so we did a bit of research and beeswax is a by-product in the process of making honey,” said Courtenay, the company’s CEO.
“There’s a lot of ways you can use beeswax, so we decided to make things people could use in their everyday lives. It allowed us to go into the community and ask hobbyist beekeepers to donate their beeswax and so we could make sustainable products and reduce waste.”
With their raw material sourced for free, the group did “a lot of Googling” to find recipes for their products.
Before making them they tested their viability by surveying potential buyers – a process that saw them take first place in the Waikato region’s product validation challenge.
“We didn’t really expect to do so well so that was really exciting,” Courtenay said.
A bake sale at the Trash ‘N’ Treasure market raised the initial capital needed for equipment and ingredients such as moulds, packaging and shea butter.
“After that we had a testing day to try out the products on family and friends, which allowed us to tweak and refine our recipes,” Courtenay said.
So far Hive Hut has put about 9kg of unwanted beeswax to good use and made $1000.
“We’ve sold 135 products so far and our goal is to sell 300 before September,” Courtenay said.
“I don’t think we were too profit focused when we went into this; Wellington has been our biggest motivator to be honest. Helping to reduce environmental harm was also important.”
She said the group was really enjoying the competition.
“It’s been such a unique learning opportunity for all of us.”
For more information about Hive Hut go to Facebook and Instagram or visit https://hivehut.mystorbie.com/.