YES was introduced to the Cook Islands from New Zealand where it is funded by businesses and corporates.
Here, NZAID provided support for the first two years to get it up and running, and it has now been taken over by Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce with funding from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. This year’s 26 students will learn all the basics to get started and run a business. They will be divided into groups and will form a company and undoubtedly after much debate, will choose a product and develop a business plan - including a marketing plan, to bring the product to market.
They will have their ideas severely tested in a “Dragons Den,” modeled on the popular overseas television franchise of the same name, where they will present their ideas to a panel of experienced business people.
If they are successful, they will receive funding to put their plan into action. During the year the YES students will also have access to business mentors.
The Head of Economic Studies at Tereora, Stephen Graham originally taught the business studies class but with an eye to succession planning, another important business tool, has handed over to Taiti Hosking this year. He says the students are slightly limited in raw material for their planned products and while coconut oil products keep coming up, the planning and tossing around of ideas for a product line can be applied to whatever product the students might move on to create in the future.
Last year’s student companies produced three useful products. There was a range of coconut oil based beauty products, a handy plastic-based carry bag commemorating the 50th anniversary of self-government and an out-of-left-field “toddlehug”’ – a safety belt to tie around a toddler or small child to secure them to an adult when riding a motor-bike.