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Pacific business leaders in the making  

Pacific business leaders in the making  

  • 16 Jan 2023
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(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:

  • The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme Company of the Year 2022 – SOLE – Otago Girls’ High School
  • The Sir John Todd Memorial Award for 2nd Place – Upcycled Plastics – Rolleston College
  • Todd Foundation Award for 3rd Place – Sky’s Surf School – Kerikeri High School
  • Te Arahanga Primary Industries Award – Reed – Taradale High School
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Award for Innovation – TotalCard – Cashmere High School
  • National Excellence Award for CEO of the Year - To’e Lokeni & Mannfred Sofara – Bishop Viard College
  • Gallagher Award for Smart Technology – MaiBand – Aquinas College
  • bp Award for Social Enterprise – Pūkare Cards – Taradale High School
  • National Excellence Award for Rangatahi Entrepreneur – Coffee Direct – Rotorua Boys’ High School
  • HSBC Award for Environmental Sustainability – Upcycled Plastics – Rolleston College
  • National Excellence Award for Pasifika Business – SAINT. – Waitakere College
  • Ministry of Youth Development Award for Resilience – Ātaahua – Rangiora High School
  • NZ Aid Programme Award for Solving a Development Problem – Tokia Te Ora – Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wānanga
  • National Excellence Award for Sales and Marketing – Fa’amalosi, Say it Right! – Bishop Viard College
  • Go with Tourism Award for Tourism – Flying Left – Taupo-nui-a-Tia College
  • Sir James Fletcher Award for Most Inspiring Teacher – Gina Lefaoseu – Bishop Viard College
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Award for Best Annual Review – Coffee Direct – Rotorua Boys High School

Visit the Young Enterprise website for more information on how to take part in the scheme.