This year proved to be bigger and better than 2022 as well over 100 ākonga rose to the challenge with innovation, creativity and problem solving skills to establish businesses, pitch their ideas and take them to market.
YES 2023 has ignited the entrepreneurial spirit WITHIN OUR ākonga, the future change makers of the Bay of Plenty. This year, they have launched an impressive 27 new companies, continuously developing their businesses, and actively shaping the future right here in our region.
In their pursuit of environmental sustainability, the creation of safe and resilient communities, their focus on wellbeing and participation, and their dedication to encouraging kaupapa and Māori outcomes, these young entrepreneurs have stepped up, creating impact and awareness within the local community, one innovative business at a time. As we witness their remarkable journey, it becomes evident that the future is shining brightly for them, their whānau and our wider Bay of Plenty community.
The YES Western Bay of Plenty Regional Finals, held on the evening of October 18, 2023, at Club Mount Maunganui, was an awesome event. Among the highlights of the night were the presentations by the four finalist teams, each showcasing their entrepreneurial ideas and efforts. The evening was made even more special as a total of nine teams from schools around the Bay were recognised and honoured across the 14 awards.
This was an occasion where teachers, mentors, families, and dedicated supporters came together to celebrate a year's worth of hard work in building successful businesses. The event had an energetic atmosphere and offered a perfect platform to commend and appreciate the growth and innovation of our talented young entrepreneurs and their companies.
Judges: Dave Craig (The Brave Venture), Cassandra Hogan (Fontein Coaching), Christian Sykes (Amity) and Chloe Wickman (Zeenya Clothing) joined in for the night to assess the four finalist pitches, give valuable feedback and decide on a Regional Winner.
Entrepreneur of the Year for 2022, Seth Turner was enlightening as our MC for the night and and national YES support was provided by Bryce Monteith, Operations Coordinator and Lisa Player, Head of Finance and based in Tauranga.
This year's finalists were:
Hauora Home (Ōtūmoetai College) - A snakes and ladders inspired board game incorporating mental and emotional well-being awareness, physical activity, and spiritual well-being awareness, all while engaging students in a constructive way, outside of technology.
Sniffers (Aquinas College) - A cardboard car air freshener that comes with supplementary wax mixes which can be reapplied to keep the scent lasting longer.
Unifirm (Ōtūmoetai College) - Their mission was to provide a technical solution to managing school issued clothing items using Radio Frequency Technology (RFID). Helping reduce school sports/uniform coordinators stress, save valuable time and money in keeping track of issued clothing items all while helping the environment by reducing paper and textile waste.
Whenua Care (Aquinas College) - A Kawakawa balm that can be used as both an everyday lip balm as well as on bites, burns, cuts and kills harmful bacteria on the skin. Their product features eco friendly packaging, and a vegan-friendly product that does not contain beeswax.
These awards acknowledge and commend the following teams:
Awesome Product Presentation - Runner up: Calm Charm Ōtūmoetai College
Awesome Product Presentation - Winner: FishOff, Ōtūmoetai College
Financial Management Award - Runner up: Unifirm, Ōtūmoetai College
Financial Management Award - Winner: Sniffers, Aquinas College
Teamwork Award - Runner up: Hauora Homes, Ōtūmoetai College
Teamwork Award - Winner: BBQ Blokes, Tauranga Boys’ College
Innovation Award - Runner up: Scholar Light, Whakatāne High School
Innovation Award - Winner: Unifirm, Ōtūmoetai College
Community Focus Award - Runner up: Natural Attraction, Aquinas College
Community Focus Award - Winner: CJ Sporting Goods - Tauranga Boys’ College
Biggest Contributor - Winner: CJ Sporting Goods, Tauranga Boys’ College
WBOP Entrepreneur of the Year - Winner: Chloe Davison - Hauora Home - Ōtūmoetai College
And the YES Western Bay of Plenty Regional Champions are....
Runner up.... drum roll...
Hauora Home - Ōtūmoetai College! They impressed the judges with their board game which will bring whānau together around the table in the evenings.
And the Regional winner is…
Unifirm - Ōtūmoetai College! They delivered a great pitch and appear to have solved the problem of wasted time, money and effort in locating missing school uniforms. Unifirm has earned their place and will be representing our region at the YES National Finals in Wellington on 4 December.
Thank You to our regional sponsors Acorn Foundation, Baytrust, Education Partnership & Innovation Trust, Tauranga City Council, TECT and Toi-Ohomai-Te Pūkenga for making this event possible and for their ongoing support of the YES programme in the Western Bay of Plenty.
YES Western Bay of Plenty is delivered by the Stand Tall Community Trust with Regional Coordinator Pascale Hyboud-Peron.