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Source: Te Pukenga

Ever had a drink topple in your car, soaking the carpet in stinky smoothie? Or tried to find an all-on-one natural skin care product? The 2023 Canterbury Ōtākoro winners of the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) have you covered.
The record-breaking local season of The Lion Foundation YES partnered by Ara | Te Pūkenga and powered by ChristchurchNZ has come to a close with 171 teams from 29 high schools bringing products and ideas to market.
Nine regional prizes have been handed out after months of product refining, marketing, sales and business pitches – with judges saying the standard of young entrepreneurship continues to rise.
Darfield High School’s Molly Macpherson and Jayden Lancaster are off to the national final after winning the Canterbury Ōtākaro North division with their Cup Boost creation.
The pair, who have brought a range of businesses to the competition three years in a row, created Cup Boost after struggling to keep drinks handy in their car without spillage.
“Cup Boost uses 3D printing to produce environmentally friendly cup holder extenders made from filament sourced from a Kiwi-owned company using 100 percent recycled materials. Because we 3D print them, it allows us to personalise them to our customers,” CEO Macpherson said. “We were surprised with the win as we were up against so many good teams, but we are very excited to be heading to Wellington.”
Hagley Community College team Amoria took out the national finals spot for Canterbury Ōtākoro South with their Hydrating Elixir skincare product. Designed to be a one-stop remedy for sunburn, eczema, and problem skin, the product was developed by the team sourcing natural ingredients from a local company.
Delighted with the win, team members Ruby Comfort and Stella Archer said their product had resonated with their customers who wanted to save money and save the planet.
“We were personally sick of having a million products for every skin concern, so we wanted to create something natural and sustainable to provide solutions for our customers that also helps the planet,” Comfort said.
Four-time judge Rachel Triplow, Trademark & Copyright Lawyer with aRc Legal said deciding on a winner was always difficult when considering ideas developed by such an innovative and motivated group. But, in the end, she said key factors made the winning businesses stand out.
“For Cup Boost, the judges were particularly impressed by the clear identification of the problem that the product sought to solve, the innovative product diversification and marketing potential, and sustainable use of recycled plastics which then could be further upcycled.”
She said the judging team felt Amoria managed the difficult challenge of making a beauty product stand out in the market. “We were impressed by the choice of Amoria’s distinctive brand identity, success with innovative marketing initiatives, willingness to pivot following customer feedback and demonstrated profitability,” she said.
A new ‘Spirit of YES award’ was also presented on the night to Ferndale School finalists Sew Much Fun. The special character school was new to the competition – creating customised bags made from recycled fabrics. The enterprise grew from a lockdown mask-making activity when the ākonga (students) had to get creative to find the work experiences they’d usually find in the community.
Teacher Paula Stephenson said it had been a rewarding experience.
“The YES programme has provided an inclusive and equitable opportunity for our learners to contribute to their learning, develop confidence and be recognised for their diversity and capabilities,” she said.
Ara | Te Pūkenga YES Regional Co-ordinator Idoia Alday Gonzalez said it had been a successful year with support of long-standing sponsors and newcomer Environment Canterbury this year.
“Our devoted teachers, encouraging families, incredibly supportive sponsors, engaged alumni, brilliant business community and dedicated YES staff are what makes it possible. They do say it takes a village, and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to the YES whānau,” Alday Gonzalez said.
Molly Macpherson from Cup Boost encouraged anyone thinking about trying their hand at business or enterprise to sign up to YES through their school.
She said taking by their ideas through various challenges, they also learn life skills along the way.
The national finals gala will be held at Te Papa in Wellington on December 4 th.
Regional Excellence Award Winners:
Customer & Market Engagement: Sponsored by Ara, Bookado Books
Cashmere High School
Finance: Sponsored by Kendons: Decalify, Te Aratai College
Sustainability: Sponsored by Powell Fenwick, Milk & Honey, Cashmere High School
Enterprising Technology Sponsored by Cyclone Decalify, Te Aratai College
Social Enterprise Sponsored by Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunshine, Bookado Books Cashmere High School
Innovation: Sponsored by Baldasso Cortese Noordanus, Under the Roof, Cashmere High School
Environmental Solutions: Sponsored by Environment Canterbury, For Earth, Hagley Community College
Regional Spirit of YES Award: Sponsored by Ara, Sew Much Fun, Ferndale School
Regional Distinguished Mentor Award: Sponsored by Ara, Ann-Maree Ozanne, Darfield High School
National Excellence Awards (to be revealed at the National Final):
Danceversity, Rangiora High School
Bookadoo Books, Cashmere High School.
Overall Regional Winners:
YES Canterbury Ōtākaro North Winner, Cup Boost, Darfield High School
YES Canterbury Ōtākoro South Winner, Amoria, Hagley Community College.