Nerves and vision required for the dragons
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.
Students of Mana College’s Keeping it Natural team, who have started a home remedy business.