Teen entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to local judges

From bouncy castles and board games, to candles and guitar picks – West Coast high school students pitched their brightest business ideas 

Bounce Hire

From bouncy castles and board games, to candles and guitar picks – West Coast high school students this week pitched their brightest business ideas of a panel of local experts as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) 2022 programme. 

Twenty‐four students in nine teams from high schools around the region are taking part in this year’s programme – where teams of secondary students come up with a business plan, pitch their ideas to local mentors and receive support throughout the year as they develop and roll‐out their ideas.   

The Mid‐year Pitch is one of various challenges held throughout the year that contribute to each team’s overall results in the programme. It involves presenting their concept to a panel of local judges and explaining how they are going to turn the idea into a business reality. This follows a speed‐coaching event held earlier in the year, with the programme culminating in a final pitch and presentation at and end‐of‐year ceremony. 

Tai Poutini Polytechnic supports the year‐long challenge through coordinating events and activities that help local high school students put their business ideas to the test in a real‐world environment and prepare them to take on entrepreneurial opportunities on the West Coast when they leave school. 

Tai Poutini Polytechnic Leader Engagement Mequa Hourston says the mid‐year pitch proved to be a great event, with students battling their nerves to present some really fantastic business ideas. 

“A big thank you to our judges who gave their expertise to support the event. I know they were all very impressed with the presentations and they’re keen to see the students take their ideas to the next level. 

“Tai Poutini Polytechnic is proud to support the annual YES programme and it’s fantastic to see the fun and learning that it brings to our local high school students. The programme also supports the objectives of the West Coast Regional Workforce Plan, as we create pathways for young people to pursue business ideas and innovation in our region.” 

Judges at the Mid‐year Pitch were Ian Johnson and Carolyn Johansen from Development West Coast, Antony Merriman of Hokitika’s Signlink Graphic and Michelle Griffin Westside Surf and Street in Greymouth. 

Ian Johnson says, “By asking students to plant a seed of their own creation and nurture it all the way through to the end‐user, the YES challenge develops an entrepreneurial mindset and pushes the students to understand and actively engage in the whole of the supply chain.   

“They often come in knowing ‘what to think’, the competition teaches them ‘how to think’. It’s great to be able to support our budding West Coast entrepreneurs, I can’t recommend the programme highly enough”. 

The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme is a year‐long opportunity for senior secondary students to unleash their inner entrepreneur and experience the start‐up world first‐hand.  During the school year, students set up and run a real business with real profit and loss. 


Published 18 June 2022