The annual student business challenge is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Bank of the Cook Islands and was created to give talented Cook Island students opportunities to showcase their knowledge about creating a successful business. The enterprise programme is part of the education curriculum in the Cook Islands. A statement from BCI said 22 teams took part in the business challenge, seven of them from the outer islands.
Ministry of Education’s Enterprise advisor Janet Woodger said that as a result of taking part, younger generations of the Cook Islanders now had a feeling for engagement in money-making businesses.
“The idea was derived from the number of people who get involved in the fundraising process. It is the core money raising initiative in the Cook Islands used by sports teams, church teams and travelling groups.
“So what we wanted to do was take these live experiences by our children into the concept of business and the challenge is an opportunity for them to practice their business skills in a safe and supported environment.”
She said the students were now confident in their knowledge of “micro enterprise” businesses.
“We hope this gives them the confidence to progress their business ideas because the resources here in the Cook Islands should really be for our children.”
Thanks to the Bank of the Cook Islands, prize money was also provided to encourage the students’ business initiative.
Year 10 Business teacher Tatari Mitchell said the event was a great way of showcasing the youngsters’ talents.
“It was the first time that we have taken seven teams from our college with five members in each team.
“The students used to make PowerPoint presentations before a panel of judges with their business ideas and that was it.
“This year we are so thankful that not only was the panel of judges involved, but market booths were set up for the students that saw parents, supporters and even tourists arriving in numbers and purchasing items from the students’ stalls.
Mitchell said her students had told her that the fact that the organisers were attentive in listening to their business ideas had encouraged them to go out and achieve what they wanted.
“The students felt valued without the organisers doubting their ideas and that was something that gave them confidence in doing what they did.”