Hawke's Bay students dazzled judges with innovation and business smarts at The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme regional awards.
More than 4000 students took part in awards nationally this year, creating over 1000 real-life businesses among them.
Hundreds turned out for the Hawke's Bay awards on October 22 at EIT.
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The one-year programme gives students an authentic learning experience which connects them with their community.
One of the big winners on the night was a team from Hastings Christian School called Kids 4 Humanity who created Go Ika, an interactive card game the whole family can enjoy, with the goal of keeping our tamariki safe.
The game teaches children the fundamentals of safety, in everyday situations, such as crossing the road, swimming in the sea, riding a bike, down to more serious issues such as what do in a tsunami or if you are receiving strange messages online.
The team walked away with two awards taking home the top overall prize as well as winning the Sales and Marketing Award.
CEO Anna van den Hout said they were stoked to have been announced the winners.
"Although we were hopeful we were still absolutely stoked to be announced winners for Hawke's Bay," she said.
"It felt so good that all of our hard work paid off, especially coming up against some awesome competition."
She said in the few days since winning the award they had already seen a growing interest in the game.
"Winning this competition has really helped us to get the word out about our unique card game and we have already seen a lot of interest shown in the last few days."
The other big winner on the night was Havelock North High School student Samuel Wixon who managed to take home the Social Impact and Innovation Award, Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a National Excellence award, one of 13 handed out nationally.
Wixon's business called Te Kete ō Tangaroa looks at sustainable export in fisheries. New Zealand has one of the most sustainable commercial fisheries in the world, but exports most of its seafood in unsustainable polystyrene bins which Wixon's business looks to tackle.
"Winning these awards was quite humbling and rewarding," he said.
"I was in a lecture theatre filled with other incredible businesses and young entrepreneurs, so to be recognised out of such an amazing bunch was really humbling."
For the future of his business Wixon hopes to be able to take the industry by storm next year as he gets his product to hit the market.
"In the immediate future I will be developing my prototype which I hope to have ready for market testing by the new year," he said.
"Next year I want to have my product being used within a domestic market in order to trial it in a real working scenario."
Both Kids 4 Humanity and Wixon head to Wellington on December 4 to the national awards where Kids 4 Humanity will compete for the title of Company of the Year and Wixon will receive his National Excellence.
Twenty-one regional champions from across New Zealand will compete at the final and attend the YES National Awards dinner at TBS Arena that evening.