Business, Education · 29 Apr 2021

YES Students Developing Great Business Ideas

Aimee Wilson

Aimee Wilson


The successful Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), which has been a nationwide success for students since 1990, has created some inspiring Southland entrepreneurs.

An initiative supported by the Southland Chamber of Commerce, this year’s students have just completed their first task for 2021 – making a video about themselves asking for funding.

Students from Southland Boys’ High School. Aparima College and James Hargest College were all successful in obtaining funding from the Southland Equity Seed Fund, along with Wakatipu High School.

Because of the high quality of the videos, three YES companies from two schools (James Hargest College, Mt Aspiring College) also received a $250 advertising package with What’s On Invers.

Organiser Jo O’Connor said it was amazing to see of the inspiring business ideas, and she looked forward to the next challenges, which involved, pitching their business to judges, sales and marketing and eventually writing an annual report.

What’s on Invers founder Mike Sanford said he has been supporting the YES programme for the past six years, and every year the quality of business ideas from the students just keeps on getting better and better.

“Hence it was a hard choice to pick one winner, so we decided to allocate three prize packs.”

YES takes Year 12 and 13 students through a series of authentic real-world entrepreneurial experiences to help young people to thrive in business and in life.

At the start of the school year, they create their own unique product or service and take it to market. 

YES company MOTI, from left, Meg Thomas, Tessa Wilson, Tom Hope, Guy Bayly. Not pictured Georgia Robertson. Photo: supplied

Throughout the year they attend events that mirror the process start-up businesses go through – including developing business and marketing plans; and receiving guidance and mentoring from business people.

The goal is to help young people thrive in business and in life, inspire students to be innovative and creative, develop work-ready skills and an entrepreneurial spirit.

What’s On Invers

 Advertising package worth $250

  • Moti, Mt Aspiring College
  • AltoEco NZ, James Hargest College
  • Sprout Tonic, Mt Aspiring College

Equity Seed Funding

  • Swafe, Southland Boys High School
  • Job Geek, Aparima College
  • Group 5, James Hargest College
  • Give Time, Wakatipu High School
  • Group 2, James Hargest College