Year 13 Kaitaia College student Nina Griffiths has no doubt about how she will spend her working life, plans that have taken further shape following her success at the Young Enterprise Trust's annual Enterprise in Action event at Massey University in Auckland.

Nina is one of six secondary students who have been selected to travel to California, originally next month but now more likely in October.

At the weekend competition 80 students work in teams of eight to complete two challenges, then an individual challenge. Nina's team's challenges were to come up with a means of introducing nutrition into an existing or new product, and to develop a strategy to introduce an agritech product that played to New Zealand's strengths, into the American market.

The team's response to that challenge was a vaporiser that could be used to vaccinate beehives against the likes of varroa.


Nina's individual idea was to counter expectations of falling visitor numbers from Britain (following the UK's exit from the EU and a weakening pound) by linking Canterbury University with British institutions for an international study, incorporating Matariki, to establish an international market for 'southern skies' tourism.

Nina's passion is investigating ways in which business can be developed in recognition of environmental, cultural and social values.

"You can save the oceans and make money," she said yesterday - and she is looking forward to seeing positive examples of social and environmental enterprises in San Francisco.

"That's what we're trying to do with our business in the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme. Our business, Papataiao, is linking the environment with sustainable businesses, and I can't wait to see what they're doing in Silicon Valley," she said.

The students will spend five days in San Francisco, and hope to visit some of Silicon Valley's leading businesses, including Google, Facebook, Tesla and AirBnB.

They will also visit one of FedEx's largest hubs in Oakland to gain an understanding of the transportation industry.

"These six students stood out throughout the weekend," Young Enterprise CEO Terry Shubkin said.

"They were nominated for the trip by their peers, and really impressed our judging panel."


Dee Ngakuru, NZ country manager for sponsor FedEx Express, who one of the judges for the final challenge, said they had impressed with their ability to think strategically under daunting time pressures.

Meanwhile Nina is planning to undertake the intensive business skill development programme Venture Up next year, before enrolling at Victoria University in the second semester.