Supercharging students’ business skillsets

Black Bulb CoHaving completed their final year at MHS, our successful Black Bulb Co students moved to Wellington to participate in an intensive business accelerator programme.

The six weeks they spent away from home and families was a valuable - and novel - experience.

Raniella San Sebastian, Wilson Lesa, Mile Fonoia, and Naotia Atiana had worked together over 2014 to develop Black Garlic Aioli into a foodie sensation. Their business was a regional winner in the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), and their entrepreneurial potential was recognised  in selection for the Venture Up accelerator programme.

Jointly run by YES and Creative HQ Wellington, Venture Up is designed to supercharge business and entrepreneurial skillsets.

Wilson says that rather than using the Venture Up opportunity for the growth of Black Bulb Co, they chose to form new partnerships with other participants, and work on new business ideas. These included a healthy energy drink, a healthy chocolate snack, and a social housing initiative.

Raniella says the programme “helped me understand what the real world is like, and that I have to be really serious about what I want to do in the future".

The students’ achievements in 2014 also saw them recognised by the Prime Minister, winning the Pacific Youth Award for Business and Enterprise.

All four are now at university studying business, and intend to continue production of Black Garlic Aioli.

Pictured in front: Raniella, Naotia and Wilson.
Standing from left: Members of the Business Academy Foundation Committee - Hilary Sumpter (Auckland Communities Foundation), Emma O'Riordan (head of the Business Academy), Terry Shubkin (CEO of Young Enterprise), David Irving (Business Leader and ICEHOUSE Co-Founder), John Hynds (Entrepreneur and MHS Alumni).

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