Local Student Companies Gain National Recognition

jesh1Four Year 13 students from Palmerston North Girls’ High School have shown that taking care of the environment is good for business.

Jesh Designs, the 2014 Manawatu Whanganui Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Company of the Year, was created by Grace Donaldson, Jacqueline Holmes, Hannah Thompson and Sarah Davies and produces environmentally friendly multipurpose cushions made from recycled materials.

In addition to winning the regional competition in November at the national finals in Wellington on 12 December, Jesh Designs won the Excellence in Environmental Sustainability award.

Along with 18 other student companies from around New Zealand, Jesh Designs travelled to Wellington and presented their business to the judging panel in the national final for the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme on 10 December. Insert blurb here if news about Wellington.

Jesh wasn’t the only local company to gain national recognition. At the regional prizegiving, the National AUT University Scholar of the Year award – given to the student who scored highest on the annual exam – was presented to Palmerston North Girls’ High School student Anna Skeggs. And the team that scored highest nationally on the business plan competition was the Lawnmoa team from Freyberg High School.

“Lawnmoa makes Kiwi garden ornaments,” says Dryden, “and gave Jesh a run for their money. Lawnmoa was a close second at the regional event and it’s great to see them recognised nationally for their hard work.”

Jesh, an eco-friendly home decor business, uses recycled plastic bottles to fill the cushions. In July they launched their ‘spoon mirrors’, the frames of which are made of spoon heads attached to recycled wood. Along the way, Jesh sold their cushions online, and at the Feilding craft market, The Plaza and Te Manawa.

While sales are important, teams are judged on their performance throughout the year, says Dryden. They were scored on the pitching of their idea to the Dragons’ Den, their overall sales and their annual report. They were also given a score from the regional coordinators.

“Right from the start, the Jesh team was focused and had their heads down,” says BCC events and marketing coordinator Richard Dryden. “They were really very polished throughout and, after winning the regionals, spent days at BCC practising the pitch they presented at the Nationals.”

“YES is a great fit for BCC. We have expertise in launching and growing businesses and sharing business knowledge,” says Dryden. “We’ve already confirmed with the Young Enterprise Trust that BCC will coordinate the regional competition in 2015. We’re already in the planning stages for that and have had debriefs with the teachers involved. Our goal is to make the programme better every year.”

There were 28 teams and 140 students who participated in the 2014 regional competition. The 2015 competition will kick off in February.

Keep up to date with YES activities on the new regional YES website www.yesmanawatu.co.nz.

You can buy a Jesh Design cushion through www.facebook.com/jeshdesignspn and a Lawnmoa lawn ornament on www.lawnmoa.co.nz.

For more information or to be a YES mentor, contact Richard Dryden richardd@thebcc.co.nz on 06 352 0111 or Dave Craig dave@thebcc.co.nz on 06 352 0117.

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