Nerves and vi­sion re­quired for the dragons

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - THOMAS MANCH

Are they ready to face the dragons?

Today eight high-school busi­ness teams will pitch their nerves and vi­sion against a panel of lo­cal busi­ness minds – who could make or break their dreams.

Who will leave with the dragon’s money?

The eight fi­nal­ists have emerged from the ashes of the first Dragon’s Den heat, in which the other 82 teams from the low­erNorth Is­land per­ished.

Part of the Young En­ter­prise Scheme’s year-long pro­gram for high school stu­dents, the Dragon’s Den com­pe­ti­tion of­fers a pre­cious bounty for the fi­nal­ists, $2500 in fund­ing money.

Fi­nal­ists Keep­ing it Nat­u­ral, from Mana Col­lege, are some of the youngest stu­dents to go through the Young En­ter­prise Scheme (YES) pro­gram, a year 11 team in a pro­gram built for years 12 – 13.

‘‘Be­ing first starters at the NCEA lev­els it’s al­ready hard enough... I think we’re han­dling it re­ally well,’’ said Anita Wa­iariki, chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Their prod­uct is ‘‘an old home rem­edy’’, a Maori rem­edy, a nat­u­ral heal­ing oint­ment for the whole body us­ing the kawakawa plant.

Anita said peo­ple didn’t think highly of Mana Col­lege, so they’re ‘‘pretty proud’’ with how far they’d got.

The judges of the pre­vi­ous heat liked their prod­uct so much they, in a way, in­vested.

‘‘Two of the judges ac­tu­ally bought our sam­ples that we had ... we ac­tu­ally had a profit from that day.’’

Tu­tor Corp, a team of five year 13 Welling­ton Col­lege stu­dents, have also made it into the next round with their web­site that con­nects stu­dents with tu­tors.

Stu­dents can see a tu­tor’s pho­tos, sub­ject spe­cial­i­ties, price, lo­ca­tion, qual­i­fi­ca­tions, rat­ings and avail­abil­ity, all be­fore de­cid­ing to make con­tact.

It’s a so­lu­tion for strug­gling stu­dents, chief ex­ec­u­tive Ste­fan Boulieris said.

‘‘We weren’t happy with the school sys­tem and NCEA ... a lot of my mates were ei­ther fail­ing or not get­ting the grades they wanted.’’

They’re hop­ing to build on their success from the last round, bring­ing ‘‘pro­fes­sion­al­ism’’ be­fore the dragons.

It’s not quite like the TV show though. ‘‘They don’t roast us, they don’t ask for a stake’’.

Nonethe­less, they all agreed it would be ‘‘pretty nerve-wrack­ing’’ pitch­ing in front of an ex­pected crowd of 200 peo­ple.

Gavin Miller, who runs the lower-North Is­land por­tion of the YES pro­gram, said Keep­ing it Nat­u­ral was a ‘‘real win, not just for the school but for the com­mu­nity as well’’.

Tu­tor Corp was ‘‘very or­gan­ised and very fo­cussed’’, he said. They’ve po­si­tioned them­selves as the ‘‘Uber of high-school tu­tor­ing and that showed at Dragon’s Den heats. I’m ex­pect­ing quite a flash pre­sen­ta­tion from them, come June 28.’’

The Dragon’s Den com­pe­ti­tion makes up 30 per cent of to­tal marks, and is a way­point for the year-long pro­gram, assess­ing prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, re­search and prepa­ra­tion for the next step – de­liv­er­ing the prod­uct.

PHOTO: THOMAS MANCH.

Stu­dents of Mana Col­lege’s Keep­ing it Nat­u­ral team, who have started a home rem­edy busi­ness.

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