March 2017: The first event of the YES year kicked off at Toi Ohomai’s Mokoia campus, where the focus was on introducing the programme, building a team and developing a real-life business idea.Head of YES and Student Wrangler Leah MacDonell said "the ideation stage is crucial, as the student-led teams learn the process of starting a business, researching their respective industry, developing the product and launching their idea into the market.""We gather our mentors from the local business community" said Ms Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule, YES Regional Coordinator for the Central Bay of Plenty and co-founder of Digital Natives Academy."YES is a competition which is able to sit inside the school curriculum. It is a real (and maybe first) opportunity for student entrepreneurs to speak about their ideas, to have a variety of industry experts listen and give constructive feedback."In 2016, the team from Western Heights High School won the Regional Award for their 'Kiwipac' idea.Ms Biasiny-Tule added "these experiences have far-reaching, positive impacts on students, they learn to do market research, they develop strategic business plans and many go on to develop their own successful businesses."Past YES alumni include the founder of Give a Little, Nathalie Whitaker, co-founder of Te Whare Hukahuka and Head of Māori Development at The Icehouse, Shay Wright and Kiwibank co-founder and CE, Peter Brock.Throughout the year, events organised to support the students will include E-Day, Dragons Den, Pitch Night, Market Day and a Regional Awards Dinner.For more information on YES, please contact: YES E-Day speed coaches are a fundamental component in helping support students, they include:
Rotorua City Councillors Karen Hunt and Tania Tapsell will also attend. Bart Voss, HOD of Tourism for Toi Ohomai will share his own inspirational story.This event has been possible with the kind and generous support of Toi Ohomai, Westpac, Rotorua Lakes Council, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, Enterprise Great Lakes Taupō and Digital Basecamp.