Launched in 2011, the annual BCI Year 10 Business Challenge was organised and designed by Ministry of Education as a means of encouraging an enterprising mindset among students in secondary schools.
Event organiser Janet Woodger has been a passionate mentor for all the students and teachers and the annual contest is open to all secondary schools in the Cook Islands. This year, a total of eight secondary schools participated in the competition, three from Rarotonga and five from the Pa Enua.
Bank of the Cook Islands managing director, Vaine Nooana-Arioka says: “This competition serves as a platform for innovators of tomorrow to showcase their entrepreneurial talents and business plan execution.
“We are pleased with the growing participation from our schools and particularly our Pa Enua schools as this shows that educators are aware of the importance of nurturing students at a young age with relevant business concepts, while the students themselves together come up with new ideas and beautiful creative works”.
Each school was required to create and present a product supported by a business plan detailing their production plans, marketing research and unique selling points.
The judges panel comprised BCI managing director Vaine Nooana-Arioka, Jaewynn McKay of Woven Pacific representing the Chamber of Commerce, and Alexander Davis of the Ministry of Education.
All the ideas presented impressed the judges. It was the ‘Picture Perfect’ handcrafted frames from Mangaia School, made with dried pandanus leaves (tauara) and sea shells frames containing snaps of the judges, that earned the most points and took first place.
Mitiaro school won second place with their locally-inspired coconut tree products, while Nukutere College dedicated their product to the memory of the late Jerome Shedden with hand painted pareaus featuring unique quotes in Cook Islands Maori.
Every contestant was given a gift bag sponsored by BCI in the hope that the experience will inspire students to embark on entrepreneurial journeys of their own.
Results: First: Picture Perfect (Mangaia School), Angela Whyte, Dawn Teio, Doreen Moekapiti, Metuavaine Atariki, Paula Kareroa. Second: Cobronutocks (Mitiaro School), Tiana Haxton, Brandon Kaukura, Martein Taia. Third: KKLTD (Nukutere College), Konini Rongo, Limar Moetaua, Teraimateata Teataiariki, Dora Iripa, Kome Tukaroa. Judges’ prize (Tereora College), Daryl Areai, Nicolette Auvera, Makayla Ibbetson, Lynn Mataora, Vaine Tuteru. Other teams: Raro Shells (Titikaveka College), SOTV (Papaaroa College), Mauke Manava Handcrafts (Mauke School) and Mirror (Araura College).