Enterprising young people in the Bay of Plenty are returning from summer holidays with more than memories - some also have extra money, thanks to business ventures. 48 Hours reporter Dawn Picken spoke with Millennials who are spinning passions and hobbies into hard cash.

Twenty-year-old Liam Stops says he couldn't find a reason to stay in class while growing up in Hawke's Bay.

So he quit school at age 16 to manage a Domino's Pizza franchise in Hastings.

"I guess I would've been the youngest manager in the country, from what I've heard."


He and brother Kaedyn bought a Domino's shop in Rotorua's Redwoods Centre in 2013 at ages 18 and 19 and plan this year to add a second store in Fairy Springs.

Liam says he sacrificed his social life as a teenager.

"No one my age worked full-time, none of my friends did. I missed out, especially over school holidays; I was always working."

On the flip side, Liam says the rewards are great.

"Being your own boss is quite cool. Just running my business, I feel like I'm succeeding every day. You're learning more things and helping other people out. It feels good to give someone a job."

Kaedyn and Liam entered the pizza biz at age 12, following in the footsteps of their older sister, also a Domino's employee.

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They started taking orders, doing dishes and 'wobble boarding' - holding a sign outside.

"I was still a bit shy when I used to do it, so I threw the sign around a bit," says Liam.

Both brothers say they'd like one day to take tertiary business classes.

For now, they're focused on increasing sales and expect to more than double the size of their employee force - to more than 40 workers - this year.

Kaedyn says, "Being able to focus on something and watch it grow - it does bring challenges, but it keeps you on your toes."

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce president John McRae says New Zealand needs people trained to take on and manage entrepreneurial risks.

"It would be good if we could have, within the education system, a way of developing youth and managing risks at an early age. Tertiary education is a great thing, but there's also a role for others who don't want to go down that track. I think we've lost that Kiwi ingenuity, our Number 8 Wire mentality and we need to encourage that."

That's why Chamber chief executive Darrin Walsh says he helped start Rotorua's Youth Chamber of Commerce last year.

The Youth Chamber includes two Year 12 representatives from each of Rotorua's high schools, plus three students from Waiariki Institute of Technology.

"I've been in this role 18 months and I wanted to establish closer links with schools."

Walsh says sponsoring organisation Waiariki will help the Junior Chamber at the city's career expo this year and take a lead role in other projects, such as a careers club.

"If kids have got a passion for something and they're showing entrepreneurship, we shouldn't squash that and say, 'Get a job and be an employee.' Some kids have great ideas, and if they follow their passions, it can lead to something."

Rose McMahon, 15, followed her passion into photography. She runs a business called Little Miss Rose from her home at Old Forest School in Pongakawa.

Rose has already photographed for Zespri, TEDxTauranga, Master Chef and Little Big Markets.

She says one of her favourite subjects is weddings, an event she'll have photographed or videotaped more than 70 times by the end of this summer.

She tells 48 Hours she works up to 30 hours each week on her business, which she incorporates into her home schooling by doing accounting, research and online marketing.

Rose says she was recently hired as stills photographer for a movie being shot in Auckland after asking the director if she could visit the set.

Mum Su-an says, "Rose is not afraid of rocking up and saying, 'Can I have a go?' Sometimes, she's been told no, you're too little, but other times she's had amazing opportunities, and this is just another one."

Rose says her goal is to one day work in Hollywood films as the youngest-ever Director of Photography.

Another young entrepreneur, Talitha McEwan, started her soap venture at age 5 to raise money for synchronised swimming competitions.

Now, at age 10, the Papamoa Primary student has her own website to promote a line of soaps, candles, lip balms, wood and furniture polish.

She also writes recipes for a kids' blog. Talitha sells her products on Facebook (Talitha's Treasures), on Trade Me ('makespacenow') and at local markets, including the Little Big Markets.

She hopes one day to represent New Zealand in synchronised swimming at the Olympics.

Back in Rotorua, Liam and Kaedyn plan to buy another couple pizza stores.

The Stops say they borrowed more than a half-a-million dollars for their first shop, which has seen 30 to 40 per cent growth year on year.

"You've always got to take a big risk to get a pretty good reward. That type of loan is bigger than putting a house behind you at age 18. Don't get scared. Give it a go."

Otago University student Jamie Constable, 19, says she started a window washing business after hearing about a family friend who'd made $7000 in one summer.

During the past school break, the Tauranga resident has used her Vespa scooter to get herself and her equipment to clients' homes.

Jamie says the biggest challenge is feeling guilty about charging family friends.

"I would've offered to do it for free but Mum said I had to put my foot down."