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Why do you spend time mentoring?

Posted on 10/03/2015 by
Minister for Youth Development Nikki Kaye speaks to YES students at the South Auckland Speed Mentoring Day. The ITC Marketing Team attended to provide the budding entrepreneurs with business advice

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye speaks to YES students at the South Auckland Speed Mentoring Day. The ITC Marketing Team attended to provide the budding entrepreneurs with business advice

By ITC Marketing Director Claire Huxley

This is a real question that I’ve been asked many times. Why do I give up my time and energy to do something that has no real impact on my role, my business or even career?

In fact, someone once said to me: “What is the real pay off here Claire?” I held my tongue and now I wish I hadn’t. This is what I should have said.

I have consistently dedicated my time to helping students who are taking part in the Young Enterprise Scheme, as I believe it is good for the soul! My soul. It helps me keep perspective about what I do and it helps me to be a better person. There, I said it.

What is YES?

The Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) is an innovative scheme designed to help students in year 12 and year 13 develop their own product or service and develop it into a business.

YES runs for a year and the groups have to work really hard. Throughout the scheme, the students do the following:

  • Write a business plan
  • Develop their product & marketing strategy
  • Cost their business accordingly
  • Organise production and manufacturing (sometimes offshore)

If that doesn’t sound quite enough, they also have to present their ideas to mentors, prepare papers, executive summaries and do formal presentations at various local and even nationwide events.

The purpose of this scheme is to increase the students’ entrepreneurial attitude at high school and broaden their horizons into the world of real work! YES has so far produced some very successful business leaders.

So what on earth does that have to do with the soul?

For me, it’s about providing a pair of ears to these budding entrepreneurs who are entering into a scary world, along with the guidance of their hard-working, dedicated teachers. I do this because I want to help and support their journey, give them some short cuts and inspire them to succeed.

ITC Marketing Executive Jess O'Connor (right) and ITC Marketing Director Claire Huxley at a YES South Auckland Speed Mentoring Event last week

ITC Marketing Executive Jess O’Connor (left) and ITC Marketing Director Claire Huxley (right) at a YES South Auckland Speed Mentoring Event last week

I believe in these young people, I want to support them throughout the year and give them real business perspective and ask them questions that they might not have thought of.

And more importantly, I want to encourage them to give it a go, after all isn’t that what we want to do with young minds? Inspire them.

After all, they inspire me, that’s for sure. I’ve come away invigorated from YES events, after spending 2 and a half hours talking, listening and focussing with each individual group. I’ve been so lucky to hear their ideas and see their gems of businesses be presented to me. I’ve probably met the next Geoff Ross, Rod Drury, Claudia Batten or Trelise Cooper.

And so for that, I always thank them sincerely. It keeps me real, grounded and in touch. See you at Dragon’s Den.

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