Schoolwork, exams, and extracurricular activities such as coaching gymnastics would be enough for most high school students, but not Zoe Harding.
The 18-year-old Mountainview High School student is set to add her first trip out of New Zealand to a list of achievements in this year’s Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES).
Harding, whose team won the first round of the South Canterbury section of YES for their organic bath bombs, was one of 80 participants, out of 246 applicants, selected to compete at the Entrepreneurs in Action weekend in Wellington, which she called “the coolest thing I’ve done this year through school so far”.
The only participant from Timaru, Harding said “meeting all the other people that had the same kind of mindset was pretty cool”.
The competition, held at the beginning of July, involved challenges on energy and market entry, with the students put into teams in which “everyone was from a different region”.
“You could control when you used it, like when it is cheapest,” Harding said.
The second challenge involved a little more investigative work, as the product – in their case a smart fence – needed to be useful in a South American country. Uprise chose Colombia, and understanding the country’s political and market stances was a key part of the design process, which Harding enjoyed.
Her newfound knowledge of Colombia will soon prove to be useful as she is one of eight students going on a YES-funded trip there in January, which involves visiting local businesses, doing a business challenge at a local school, as well as, hopefully, a bit of sightseeing.
“As they say, go big or go home if you’re going to do something,” she said.