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The business studies students from Hauraki Plains College have all learned what it takes to create and market a product. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Sustainability focus for new businesses

Students from Hauraki Plains College are sharpening their business sense for a competition that sees real products go to market.
Ben Shackleton, Ryan Denize, Ethan Claridge, Jack Anderson, Holly Harris, and Marcus Bennett are all taking part in the Young Enterprise Scheme, a national programme in which students set up and run a real business.
At Hauraki Plains College, the course is being guided by business studies teacher John Tate, and the products being produced by the pupils all keep sustainability front of mind.
There’s Good Goat Soap; Tyred Dogz dog beds; The Green Beanbag Company; Shot Bro organic juices; and Takutai coasters for couches.
Each of the students have their own roles within the established businesses, such as CEO, head of finance, head of production, and marketing manager.
“My mate’s mum has always been very big on soap making, and so we started taking notes from her,” Ben, 17, said of Good Goat Soap. “We learned how to make soap and make it from goat’s milk, which is an environmentally-friendly alternative to regular soap.
“We’ve had some pretty big success in places like Thames, and we’ve learned how to run a business along the way.”
The other enterprises also have a sustainability focus. Ryan said he and his Tyred Dogz group recognised the amount of end-of-life tyres disposed of through landfill or left within the environment, and “wanted to create a product using them”.
Ethan’s team from The Green Beanbag Company took issue with “fast fashion” and so have designed beanbags using recycled curtains and duvets, filling the bags using non-polystyrene beans.
Holly and Jack from Shot Bro have created organic juice shots using all natural ingredients and no preservatives. Flavours aim to target different areas of the body, and include an immunity boost juice filled with vitamin C; a green juice with kiwifruit and apple; and a berry juice filled with antioxidants to promote healthy skin. All contain locally-sourced honey.
Meanwhile, Marcus and his team have created Takutai – coasters for couches. The coasters are made using recycled kauri wood and the fabric is sourced from Guthrie Bowron off-cuts.
“We saw on the market that couch coasters are all normally very expensive, so instead of spending lots of money on expensive wood and expensive fabric to make it all look as perfect as possible, we thought let’s recycle and make them in the woodwork room at lunch.”
The Young Enterprise Scheme is designed so secondary school students are able to set up and run a real business. The Waikato regional finals will be held on October 19, with the national awards on December 7.
All five groups from Hauraki Plains College will be selling their wares throughout the Thames Valley, and can be found online or via the school.