(Picture caption: Mannfred Sofara, left, and To’e Lokeni are the 2022 Young Enterprise Scheme CEO’s of the Year.)
There are exciting things instore for Pacific entrepreneurialism with Pacific Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) teams excelling at the recent National YES Awards in Wellington.
Throughout 2022, 67 Pacific teams from secondary schools around New Zealand Aotearoa have been showcasing and selling their business start-ups to the YES organisers.
The YES contest requires each company to create their own product or service and bring it to market, which is then judged at regional level competitions, culminating in the National YES Awards.
A total of 4,687 secondary school students participated in the annual contest, setting up over 1,000 companies between them.
Among the successful winners at the National Awards are Mannfred Sofara and To’e Lokeni, who were announced CEOs of the Year.
The senior students from Porirua’s Bishop Viard College have led a small business group to create Fa’amalosi – Say it Right, a website aiming to help people pronounce Māori and Pacific names correctly.
In addition, Fa’amalosi, Say it Right collected the National Excellence in Sales and Marketing award topping a great night of celebrations for the Bishop Viard College team.
Meanwhile, the SAINT. team from Waitakere College collected the National Excellence Award for Pasifika Business, presented to them by Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio via videolink.
After a successful year producing mirror and photo canvases and incorporating the places the team come from – from all over the Pacific – MoonWood Canvas were finalists in the awards.
Student success would not be possible without great leadership and mentoring, and teachers such as Gina Lefaoseu, who received the Sir James Fletcher Award for Most Inspiring Teacher.
Sian McMillan is the YES Roaming Teacher for Pasifika and says she believes the programme sets students up to excel in life.
“The programme gives students an authentic learning experience that prepares them for life after schooling by teaching entrepreneurship and connecting them with the business community,” Sian says.
“It has been wonderful seeing so many Pacific participants taking part in the 2022 YES contest, and we hope to see more and more teams taking part in 2023.”
National YES Awards for 2022:
Visit the Young Enterprise website for more information on how to take part in the scheme.