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West Coast Students Enter the Dragon’s Den

Sixty high school students, a host of bright business ideas and a panel of local judges – the West Coast bp business challenge highlighted the entrepreneurial skills of local students in a final event this month.

The three‐day event was the final in a series of Young Enterprise Trust (YES) business challenge events on the West Coast this year. Hosted by Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) and supported by Development West Coast (DWC) and the Grey District Council, the event was a true test of business skills.


The bp business challenge is a three‐day programme for Years 10 and 11 where students can develop their skills, get in front of business people, and learn more about how a good business works. It is facilitated and delivered by YES, with a focus on offering business training opportunities to the regions.


Elizabeth Pittman and Paul Newsom, of YES, were both in Greymouth to run the event. They were impressed with the ideas and presentation of local high school students and said it was a fantastic three‐ day event.


“The challenge is designed to introduce students to the entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and mindset that is needed for the future of work. It is perhaps more important now than any time in the past 70 years for students to be transitioning from school into the workplace being able to see, create and take opportunities,” Mr Newsom says.


“We run up to 40 of the three‐day challenges each year around Aōtearoa, and find that in the more rural regions with small schools, like the West Coast, there is huge potential within youth, and an eager appetite to learn about business and entrepreneurship.”


A judging panel from TPP, DWC, the Council and Coast Connect were also impressed with the student’s work.


TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says it was great to see the students learn and grow over the course of the year.


“We love supporting YES to bring the programme to the West Coast. It’s a chance for students to be creative, turn their ideas into business opportunities and get feedback from people in the know. We look forward to another great year in 2021.”


Young Enterprise are committed to offering authentic learning experiences that brings enterprise into the classroom. Through their range of classroom resources, facilitated programmes and extreme experiences they are preparing young Rangatahi to be better prepared to thrive in business and in life. Building a pipeline of entrepreneurial‐minded young people who will boost the prosperity of Aotearoa.



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