Young entrepreneurs wow at awards night

A student-led company selling natural, sustainable dog treats won the inaugural Environment Canterbury Regional Excellence Award for Environmental Solutions.

The Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) awards night celebrated high school students in Ōtākaro North and Ōtākaro South who had set up their own companies from scratch. There were seven awards presented on the night, across a number of categories, including the Environmental Solutions Award sponsored by us.

Mariella Howard and Natalie Berie, senior students from Hagley Community College, won the award for their company For Earth NZ. Over the last 12 months, they refined, marketed, and sold their natural, healthy dog treats made from 'ugly' fruit and vegetables, which would otherwise be thrown out.

Their company’s focus was combatting food waste, although their sustainability focus didn’t end there; with recycled packaging and environmentally friendly product creation.

Councillor Greg Byrnes was one of three judges of our award and said For Earth stood out. "The students considered sustainability in every step of their process – from using raw materials that would be thrown away to making sustainable choices with their packaging and advertising.

"This is the first year we have sponsored an award for the YES programme and we are excited to support the environmental entrepreneurship of rangitahi in Waitaha/Canterbury," said Councillor Byrnes.

"To consider the environment in all we do is to recognise that this blue dot we call home is the most important thing we share in common."

Other winners from the night included a book production company, students who made bags and aprons for their teachers, cup holder creators, and a decal company. Two of the groups, Bookado Books and Danceversity, placed first in the National Excellence Awards and will attend the national YES final alongside the Ōtākaro North winner Cup Boost and the Ōtākaro South winner Amoria.