A group of teenage entrepreneurs have invented a "revolutionary" medical wristband to help ambulance officers in emergency situations.
Aquinas College Year 13 students Tyler Dunseath, Alex Ruck, Daniel Evans, Kalarn Mark and Reeve O'Leary have created Mediwatch as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme.
Mediwatch is a silicon wristband with an embedded NFC chip, which links to a network that can securely store medical data including a person's emergency contact details.
Company chief executive Daniel Evans said the watch will be beneficial for people with underlying medical conditions.
"Essentially what it does is it allows ambulance officers to find medical information with ease."
That includes any medications a person may be allergic to and any prescribed medication they may be taking, he said.
For example, he said if a person has fainted all an ambulance officer needs to do is scan the person's NFC chip on a mobile phone and the patient's necessary information will appear.
"It's instant," Evans said.
He said their goal was to create medical wristbands to assist ambulance officers.
"We wanted to build something from the ground up, a brand that could help people in everyday life.
"We believe that the interface we have created between our NFC wristbands and smartphones tapping into an already established tech ecosystem is truly revolutionary for paramedics and many healthcare professionals.
"Our main goal was to save lives."
Evans said the product can also be used to help dementia patients.
For example, if a patient has wandered from their home or ward and did not know where they were, a bystander can simply scan the NFC chip and it will send an automated message to the patient's emergency contact showing their name and location.
"We hope to break the barriers of entry to medical alerts so anyone with a daily medical condition can use it, whether it's dementia or Alzheimers to peanut allergies."
The group has not yet taken their product to the market but the company's production manager Kalarn Mark said they had been working on some prototypes.
"We have managed to bring the product cost down to about $90."
The NFC chip does not have any batteries and can be charged by picking up electronic waves from the mobile phone, he said.
Evans said the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) had challenged the students to set up and run a business, learn to set goals, make practical decisions and problem solve.
"The whole process has been a highlight."
The group were working with James & Wells Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys to patent their product.
Evans said they believe patenting their product could cost them between $5000 to $10,000, which will be partially paid for with some funding from YES.
But he said the majority will be paid for by the group.
St John Western Bay of Plenty territory manager Mat Delaney said it was great to see young entrepreneurs exploring new ways of improving healthcare in the future.
"One of our goals at St John is to build capability to innovate and adapt, and as an emergency ambulance service, we have seen first-hand how innovation and technology can improve the health outcomes of our patients."
The group is just one of a growing number of Bay students taking part in the YES challenge.
Western Bay of Plenty regional co-ordinator Emelie Verseput said numbers had increased in the last three years to 158 students this year, from 129 in 2019.
Numbers were down only slightly to 108 in 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown, she said.
This year there were 30 teams from six schools including, Aquinas College, Tauranga Girls' College, Tauranga Boys' College, Ōtumoetai College, Pāpāmoa College and Te Puke High School competing.
Most students were from Ōtumoetai College, with 60 students participating and 46 from Te Puke High school.
Verseput put the increased numbers down to the importance of youth entrepreneurship.
"We help students create their own entrepreneurial pathways, follow their passion and learn about business.
"[We help give them a] broader sense of what business means and how it can be applied."
Aquinas College head of economics and business Shane Turner said the YES challenge encouraged students to learn transferable, problem-solving and soft skills.
"It sets them up for life beyond school."
He said Aquinas College business group Akau was last year's regional winner recognised for their natural moisturisers for busy mums.
A group of teenage entrepreneurs from Otumoetai College will go public with their first business venture this month.
Jasmin Murray, Maia Trevelyan, Amelia Wright, Renee Mitchell, Rose Mayhead and Daniel Dumee will launch their product Kiwikick at The Seriously Good Food Show on June 26.
The public will get to taste test their new natural edible kiwifruit gel the girls have spent months perfecting as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme.
Kiwikick chief executive Maia Trevelyan said they were repurposing damaged kiwifruit that didn't make the supermarket shelves into a natural gel that can be eaten year-round.
The 17-year-old said they had sourced kiwifruit from local packing and fruit storage operation Trevelyan's and all-natural ingredients that were "a trade secret".
Trevelyan said they had learned how to delegate, manage their time, and communicate with stakeholders.
"It has been a rollercoaster but we're only at the beginning... We are very proud of our product."
Teams across the country are competing in a series of challenges as part of the young enterprise challenge.
The top-scoring teams from each region will qualify for the regional finals at the end of the year when they will pitch their business to a judging panel. The top team will then go on to the national finals in Wellington.
There are five YES challenges that each company needs to complete:
Challenge 1 – Validation
Challenge 2 – The Pitch
Challenge 3 – Promotion
Challenge 4 – Sales
Challenge 5 – Annual Review