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Young Enterprise Scheme | Otago Regional Final
Photo by Sandy Jefferies

A bumper year for the Young Enterprise Scheme

Business South —

A drink made with an acne-taming Iranian berry, beetroot juice that aids muscle recovery, doorstops created from recycled materials, and a dog food made from rabbit meat are all products developed by local secondary school students during this year’s Otago Young Enterprise Scheme (YES).

It has been a fantastic year for YES – not only was 2021 its 40th anniversary year, but a team from Dunedin’s Bayfield High School was named this year’s Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme Company of the Year.

Abalro Health was created by Robert Donohoe, Alex Livingstone and Abby Green, and imports a berry from Iran that has been clinically proven to improve acne. Their products – a supplement powder and a kombucha – are sold in more than 80 stores nationwide, as well as online.

As well as the top national award, the team also won the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Award for Accounting and Finance, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Award for Innovation. And, as joint winners of the Global Kaitiakitanga Project, they will travel to Expo 2020 in Dubai next year (delayed due to Covid-19) to showcase their products in the New Zealand Pavilion.

This year’s regional winners, Under the Door Enterprises from Kavanagh College, also pitched at the national awards. Their doorstops, which are made entirely from recycled wood and fabrics, are now sold in several Mitre 10 stores.

“This was a record year in terms of participation, with 14 Otago schools taking part,” says Julie Cheyne, YES Otago Regional Coordinator. “This involved 305 students, up from 127 last year. Coming in at a young age, for most this is their first experience of the world of business. They make valuable connections with and through Business South, and learn that we are here to support southern businesses.”

YES gives students the opportunity to set up their own company, create real products or services, compile and implement a business plan and make real profit or loss. Students learn and develop enterprising attributes through experiencing the value of innovative thinking in identifying a problem and then finding a solution. They also learn about business planning and operations, develop a range of personal and business skills, and make valuable business community connections.

It is hoped some of the region’s top teams will showcase their products and services at the Dunedin Business Expo next year.

Looking ahead to 2022, YES is always looking to recruit new schools and new sponsors to support the programme – please contact us if you are interested in getting involved. 

A huge thank you to this year’s main sponsors – the University of Otago, Polson Higgs, Kiwibank and Otago Polytechnic – for their support.