Spicy mayonnaise and Girl Power: High school entrepreneur winners announced

More than 300 Auckland students have pitched their business ideas in a Dragon’s Den styled competition, and five teams have survived.

After 51 teams presented a ‘succinct and engaging’ pitch to a panel of judges at the 2016 Sanitarium Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Auckland Regional Dragons Den Finals – no pressure - a team from each Auckland region was crowned.

The Central Auckland winner, Brightlife from ACG Parnell College, pitched LED lit lycra cycling shirts. The winning Girl Boss, from North Auckland’s Albany Senior High School, made a bid to inspire New Zealand girls to develop science, technology and engineering skills – it is also a winner of the 2016 IDEAStarter youth entrepreneurship contest.

For West Auckland, Arahina’s brochure-style websites for small business owners won Titirangi Rudolf Steiner students a spot at the top. A team from South Auckland’s Waiuku College took out an award for Chopped NZ, which creates chopping boards from recycled timber. The idea could come in useful for the East Auckland winner, Spice Boys from Ormiston Senior College, which pitched spicy mayonnaise, based on a traditional family recipe.

The winning teams have each received $1,000 to invest into their business, courtesy of Sanitarium, and each second place team received $400 from Kiwi Bank.

All year 12 and 13 students involved got a taste of a business round table in front of Auckland business leaders including Regan Ashworth, senior developer at Xero, and Lauren Jewell, a senior manager at EY.

It was the first YES Dragons Den regional finals to have all regions pitching at once, and there were 30 volunteer judges.

ATEED’s chief executive Brett O’Riley said he sensed nerves on the day but the quality of pitches were very good this year. “If this is a microcosm of talent in Auckland we are in good shape for the future,” he says.

Patrick McVeigh, ATEED’s general manager, business, innovation & skills says the event helps students “develop the skills they need to be successful in business, and transform and grow Auckland’s economy”.