More than 100 business-mad students filled Toi Ohomai's lecture theatre to be inspired last week.
The institute hosted the launch of this year's Young Enterprise Scheme which is delivered to Years 12 and 13 high school students.
The programme sees students work through the process of setting up and running a real business, investing money, producing products or services and dealing with profits or losses.
Olivia Moore, from Tauhara College in Taupō, was second in the national competition last year with her product Top That; a healthy garnish designed for everyday foods.
Moore shared her story with the Rotorua students hoping to inspire others to become motivated in creating financially viable businesses.
"It's really cool to see your idea turned into a reality and it really motivates me to see my products being used by other people.
"If you can come up with an idea that will help people and then see it actually helping people, and that has been your dream and vision, it's great to see it as a reality."
Students who are successful at a regional level will move on to the national competition where the top prize is up to $3000 for your business and $2000 for the school.
Toi Ohomai group manager of business and legal studies Jack Keogh said the number eight wire mentality was bred into Kiwi DNA and the programme enabled Rotorua students to flourish.
"A lot of our youth have very creative ideas so it is just working with that and making sure life doesn't suppress it out of them.
"Rotorua is built on entrepreneurs, these students have seen it their whole lives, they've seen businesses started from a garage and so it's trying to encourage more students to see how this works."
Toi Ohomai head of youth and community engagement Olivia Dhanjee said there was a commitment from the institute to activate the aspirations of rangatahi.
"This gives them the opportunity to try to think really creatively and innovatively around what the business opportunities for community, local, national and international."