Enterprise learning for the 21st century

Issue: Volume 93, Number 18

Posted: 13 October 2014
Reference #: 1H9csX

The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme is now a hallowed institution in enterprise learning; like all successful businesses, the scheme continues to evolve and remain relevant. Simon Murray, head of business at Pakuranga College, sees the scheme as an exciting model of future learning.

When we daydream about what the direction of future learning might look like, we tend to put students in control of their learning, with teachers making changes to meet their needs. Maybe students can write the textbooks? Maybe they’ll write them in a manner that makes learning meet their needs and those of their peers?

Hopefully, the advice and support that students moving from intermediate to secondary receive might come from those secondary students who have just travelled the same path. They understand what happens and how it feels and what to do. Learning might happen in many forms to meet the needs of all learners, though obviously, there might still be classrooms, books could still be involved, but there will also be stories, drama performances, and technology that merge to create real learning.

Working through the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), students at Pakuranga College are developing future learning just like this – right now.

The YES programme, run by the Young Enterprise Trust, has been developing NZ entrepreneurs for over 30 years. Students come together, form companies, develop a business plan, then get out there and make their ideas reality.

Pakuranga College has run YES since 2012, taking the opportunity to put it into Level 3 business classrooms in 2013. The opportunities offered by NCEA mean that by linking two or three standards together, students can gain up to 18 Level 3 NCEA credits by working in teams, developing ideas, and making those ideas work. They can even investigate opportunities for exporting their ideas overseas.

The college currently runs 11 YES companies, with products as varied as healthier sausage sizzles to organic lip balm to a budding music publishing company. Three companies – Bizz Broz, Preserved, and Simple – have all created products that show a clear understanding of where learning might go in the next fifty years.

Bizz Bros

Bizz Bros filled a gap in the educational market place. Level 3 business studies does not currently have any published textbooks. Bizz Broz created the first student study guide and have sold 176 to schools across New Zealand. They have even taken the opportunity to export to the Cook Islands. CEO Vijay Gounder has found the YES programme very rewarding.

“Rather than sitting in a classroom and learning about how businesses produce profits or carry out everyday operations, we were able to experience this first-hand, which we would not be able to do in the majority of our subjects. Moving away from the traditional pen and paper was fun for our group, where instead of rewriting a bunch of notes and trying to memorise them, we were working in a fast-paced environment where we spread out different aspects of the business.”

What sets their study guide apart from others is the nature of the books. It uses relevant examples that students would perhaps find a little more interesting. It tends to make learning more enjoyable because it’s written by students who enjoy learning.


The Simple team had a simple idea, but making it work was anything but. Their Simple Guide is a book, written by students for students, that directly addresses the worries and concerns of intermediate students as they transition into secondary school. To make it happen, the team of Year 13 YES students had to walk into principals’ offices and sell themselves and their product. Emma Ellwood, communications director with Simple, found her YES experiences stressful at times, but overall, she says it was very fulfilling.

“It’s been a challenge, but a very rewarding and enjoyable journey. We’ve arranged meetings with principals from a number of schools, and they spoke to us like we had something important to say. This made what we are doing feel really valued. It’s given us an amazing insight into the professional business world.”


The Preserved team are passionate about literacy and drama, and they want to make the world a more environmentally sustainable place. They believe younger students should be the starting point. So they have created a story book about three animals losing their habitat, which is aimed at learners in Years 3 to 4. It was illustrated on an iPad by their CEO. The book is available in both printed and e-book format. They used their background in drama to develop a performance to take the story into schools. There are lesson plans and teaching resources to extend learning in the classroom. Finally, they created an alliance with an app developer to create a web app resource to allow developing environmentalists to take further steps in their learning – it’s a book, a play, and an online learning resource – and it was developed by enterprising young New Zealanders.

YES and know

Obviously YES companies need to be economically sustainable if they are to prosper. However, students are encouraged to use their YES opportunity as a way of developing their ideas and what they enjoy doing. Preserved want to improve literacy and the environment. Bizz Broz value strong grades, and much of their learning strategies went into their study guides. Groups can use YES as an opportunity to take their love of music to the world via the Enterprising Music Competition or use their technology curriculum skills to develop healthier fast food.

Ankita Walia, finance director at Simple, also commented on how it made learning elsewhere more real, “because in accounting we look at imaginary businesses, while in YES we’re doing it for ourselves. Therefore it’s more real life and gives us a better understanding.”

Meanwhile, Chris Bowring, CEO for Preserved, said, “YES gave us the ability to personalise our business with our talents.”

YES is less about making money. It’s more about making change and developing the skills to create that change.

We will have to wait and see how the true nature of future learning pans out; obviously it might not look quite like we have imagined it here. However, we can be hopeful that there is time for students to take control of their own learning, using their skills to create change – just like YES students at Pakuranga College.

Related resources

Money Week(external link) 13-19 October 2014 

Education for Enterprise(external link) 

Financial Capability(external link)

BY Simon Murray
Pakuranga College,

Posted: 7:50 am, 13 October 2014

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts