Dragon’s Den winners found at first-ever West Coast YES Awards

 Papatuanuku Sports Kits Overall Winner YES WC Regional Finals scl5

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Budding business tycoons put their ideas to the ultimate test at Friday’s (29 October 2021) YES Business Challenge final pitch and awards event, hosted by Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

Five teams from West Coast high schools have been involved in The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), a year-long programme, culminating in the first-event final pitch and awards event on the West Coast. Awards from the final pitch were:

  • Tai Poutini Polytechnics Young Enterprise West Coast Overall Winner of 2021 - Papatūānuku Sports Kits – Greymouth High School
  • Tai Poutini Polytechnics Overall Runner Up – Golden – Buller High School
  • Development West Coast Award for Excellence in Innovation went to – Ahurea Kari – Greymouth High School
  • West Coast Trades Academy Award for Best Community Focused Business - Papatūānuku Sports Kits 
  • Papa Taiao - Excellence in Regenerative Enterprise – Ahurea Kari – Greymouth High School


All five teams pitched their business plans to our panel of judges in a Dragon’s Den-style event. Judges commented on the calibre of the business plans and the excellent pitches delivered by all entrants.

The judging panel included: Tai Poutini Polytechnic Chief Executive Alex Cabrera, Development West Coast Chief Executive Heath Milne, Buller District Mayor Jamie Cleine, Westland District Mayor Bruce Smith and National MP Maureen Pugh. Also attending the event were National Head of Yes Elizabeth Pittman and Regan Powell, South Island Roaming Teacher for YES.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic partners with The Young Enterprise Trust each year to bring the programme to West Coast high schools.

Tertiary Liaison Coordinator Jade Mahuika is also the Regional Coordiantor for YES in the West Coast and supports the event through the coordination of on-campus events, providing and management travel and accommodation (including costs) for all entrants, creating connections with YES community mentors and supporting schools and the trades academy to get involved in the challenge.

Jade says it was a very exciting celebration of our first-ever West Coast Young Enterprise Regional Awards.

“A few nerves aside, the students had a fantastic evening pitching their business plans to our judges and celebrating a great year of work. The judges were so impressed with all of the ideas and work that had gone in, but there did have to be winners on the night!

“The YES programme is a fantastic initiative for Tai Poutini Polytechnic to be part of and work alongside some of our great community partners. We’re more than a polytechnic on the West Coast and this is a good example of how we can support our young people and provide opportunities for them to kick-start their own business careers.”

Judges had a great night too, with National MP Maureen Pugh saying “It was a great event to be a part of and I was honoured to be a member of the judging panel. And it was fun!”; while Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine said it was a fun evening and he was very pleased to support the event. 

The YES programme is an opportunity for senior secondary students to unleash their inner entrepreneur and experience the start-up world first-hand. Through the experiential programme students set up and run their own business through the course of a school year, completing five challenges along the way including validation, promotion, a mid-year pitch, sales, and an end of year review. All culminating in the regional and national finals.

Teams involved in this year’s YES Business Challenge were: Golden – Buller High School; West Coast Collie Co – Greymouth High School; A & H Beerscuits – Greymouth High School; Papatūānuku Sports Kits – Greymouth High School; Ahurea Kari – Greymouth High School.

Find out more about YES at http://youngenterprise.org.nz/

For more information contact:

Tai Poutini Polytechnic
Mequa Hourston, Leader - Engagement
DDI: 03 7699 405 | Mobile: 027 237 5844 | email:
mequah@tpp.ac.nz