I think this post needs to be started by letting everyone know I have no idea where to begin with describing this event. How do I channel all of the nerves, fear and excitement that came from just one day. I can't. But here it is - my recount of the 2019 Young Enterprise National Awards and Competition.
It all started with an incredibly early drive to the airport. My stomach was in knots the whole way to Wellington and I felt literally sick thinking about if my pitch would fit into 5 minutes.
I was travelling down with Lloyd my teacher and mentor from ASHS and he definitely had a more relaxing flight than myself. As soon as we arrived at the hotel we immediately got to practicing with Madi and the Cloudmass boys.
After two hours of so so many practice pitches both perfect ones and failed ones it was time to head down to pitch for real. But of course, my laptop decides it doesn't like my powerpoint anymore and doesn't open it, won't save it, and decides to remove animations and photos. This in turn caused a major freak out on my end - whilst Madi stayed calm like an absolute pro and sorted it all out. My pitch was moved up in the schedule and it all went perfectly. I spoke a bit too fast - but at least I fit it all in.
I remembered it off by heart, the powerpoint worked AND I remembered almost all the cues for moving around and hand gestures. I guess all the hours and hours Madi and I had put in had paid off.
We stayed to watch some of the other pitches and everyone's business ideas are absolutely crazy. One of my favourite things about YES is how awesome it is to see how different everyone's ideas are and see what drives them as individual businesses.
The rest of the time in between pitching and the awards dinner was spent napping off a migraine, grabbing lunch with the squad and of course travelling up and down in the elevator not being able to get to our floors.
Arriving at the awards dinner was such a nerve-racking feeling. It was such a large venue - with the entrance room set up to show off our businesses and everyone who was there. It turned into a lot of networking and it was great so see so much of my YES family again. From the Thailand group to people from EIA back in June.
Everyone took their seats in the next room and the event started. We listened to a number of incredibly motivating speeches and then the awards started. First was the National Excellence awards. There were 13 of these, ranging from Sales and Marketing to Tourism or Smart Technology. Purpose was lucky enough to receive the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Award for Innovation!!
After the National Excellence and Alumni awards, the breaks in the evening for networking and all of the dinner courses had been served it was time for the Supreme awards. What all of us had come to Wellington to compete for. What we had been prepping for since regionals. The 3rd, 2nd and 1st place company of the year awards.
I still can't believe that I get to type this out - but Purpose Swimwear placed 3rd! I was so overwhelmed and apparently I even let out a little scream when they called out my name. I was so excited and even had a happy little cry around the corner shortly after. I am still so proud that after such a rocky start at the beginning of the year I was able to turn things around and now be so recognised and supported for my little business.
2nd Place went to Olivia from the Thailand trip and her business Top That where she makes vegan meal toppers! & 1st place went to Pivot from Cashmere High School who are making a sports tape that freezes when in contact with water!!
After the awards were over we all headed back to the hotel - where Madi, Adam, Sean, Matthew, Sam and I all ate Ben and Jerry's and chatted away into the early hours of the morning. :)
So that's it - an incredibly brief recount of my favourite day this year.
I once again need to say a massive thank you to Young Enterprise for everything they have done for me and of course Madi Barnett for believing in me and helping me to get pitch ready!! I'm sure there will be another post at some point about YES in general - because I want more people to get involved and understand just how great it really is! But for now - thanks for reading and thanks for supporting me on my little business journey!!