A Kerikeri teenager who has developed the world's first New Zealand grown olive leaf supplement will head to Wellington after scooping the top prize at the Northland regional young enterprise competition.
The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) regional awards, held last month, recognised the top students who participated in the programme which sees students create and run their own businesses.
Kerikeri High School student Max Donaldson walked away with the Top Energy Regional Company of the Year award for his business GreenKiwi.
It means he will head to Wellington on December 10 to vie for the Company of the Year title in a Dragon's Den-style national final.
"I was pretty surprised, I didn't really expect it. It was quite a funny year. I'm confident that hopefully I can put up some good competition," he said.
Max's company produces what he believes is the first New Zealand grown olive leaf supplement, sold in the form of capsules, which is made using a raw extraction process.
The 16-year-old was inspired after discovering an olive oil extract supplement he had been using when he was sick was made from imported olive leaves.
"That sort of spurred on the idea of creating one made from New Zealand grown leaves. We're very proud to be New Zealand made and New Zealand grown and we only use New Zealand based suppliers - that's right the way through from packaging and bottles through to web design."
Max said he spent about 20 hours a week working on the business. It has resulted in a product which is Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified, independently laboratory tested and is now being sold in Hardy's stores in Kerikeri in Paihia.
He said the only science he takes at school is physics so it had been "very very interesting" developing this product.
"I really enjoyed it," he said.
"New Zealand has such a unique market advantage in that as soon as you've got a product that's from New Zealand, people are instantly levitated towards it."
GreenKiwi was not the only Kerikeri High School business to do well.
Rosie Robinson, 17, who created a plant-based snack company called Snackish, won awards for business management; sales, marketing and communication, financial management, sustainability and young managing director.
Rosie said she was so focused on trying to get to the national competition she forgot about the other awards.
"Then on the night, obviously I didn't get to go to nationals but they called my name up and every time I was really surprised. I was like 'oh my god, another one'. But I'm so happy, I was really proud of myself. That was one of my biggest accomplishments," she said.
Other businesses and schools which won awards at the competition are Leaf Sweets from Tauraroa Area School, Laser CreatioNZ from Bream Bay College, MudTech from Papa Taiao (Kaitaia College/Kaitaia Abundant Life School), L & L Partnership and Fun For Free from Kerikeri High School, Kiwi Scents and Ekoskyn from Whangārei Boys' High School, Iho Collection from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Pukemiro, Awhina from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whangaroa, Haumi e from Te Kāpehu Whetū, and NDLR from Kamo High School.