The central Bay of Plenty's top young entrepreneurs came to Rotorua for the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Regional Awards.
Over 40 students, teachers and parents from central Bay of Plenty high schools gathered on Friday night at Digital Basecamp to celebrate and acknowledge the passion, dedication and commitment these young entrepreneurs have shown over the school year.
Western Heights High School team Kemu took out the top regional award, and will be flying to Wellington to compete in the national awards ceremony on December 6.
Kemu is a unique and graphically rich board game which enhances and promotes te reo Maori to primary aged school children.
Tokoroa High School team, Tumeke Clothing, scored big by taking out 2nd place and receiving two excellence awards (out of 13 in total).
Tumeke Clothing is about increasing the visibility of te reo Maori and finding ways to incorporate core Maori values into homes, schools and workplaces.
Colin Kennedy, head of the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme described the YES excellence awards as being incredibly prestigious, as they are strictly merit based, and chosen by the sponsor of each award.
The category each team received their excellence award in will be announced during the national award prizegiving.
eNZidea from Western Heights High School took third place for their Kiwiana themed cards and related app, which offer Chinese tourists the chance to learn a bit about Kiwi culture.
KeyIdeas from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College took out the third Excellence Award for the region.
Their innovative business idea has seen the development of a small device which is installed in cars and collects data on where the car goes, at what times and how fast.
This data is then synced to an app for parents who can then monitor their children's road use.
The evening was hosted by Matt Browning, Westpac finalist for the Young Business Leader of the Year and the awards were presented by businesswoman, Adrienne Whitewood, one of New Zealand's top fashion designers and CEO of Ahu Boutique.
Melanie Curry, the CEO of KiwiPacs, last year's regional award winner also spoke about her own insights and experiences along with the value of the YES experience.
YES Central Bay of Plenty regional co-ordinator and co founder of Digital Natives Academy, Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule, was overwhelmed by the range of businesses and the level of innovation.
"It's been amazing to see what has been accomplished in such a short space of time," she said.
"If these are the business leaders of the future, they are innovators, developers and creators - we are in amazingly good hands!"
Schools taking part this year were John Paul College, Western Heights High School, Rotorua Boys' High School, Tauhara College, Taupo-nui-a-Tia and Tokoroa High School.
Past YES alumni include the founder of Givealittle, Nathalie Whitaker, co-founder of Te Whare Hukahuka and head of Maori Development at The Icehouse, Shay Wright and Kiwibank co-founder and chief executive, Peter Brock.