The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) is an experiential programme where students set up and run a real business. YES helps students develop knowledge in operating a small business, team building, relationship management, meeting procedures, record keeping, the legal requirements for running a business, and the process of reporting company performance.

The value of the programme is far-reaching, providing students with skills to equip them for life after school. The YES experience adds depth to a resume when seeking employment.

Young Enterprise Scheme is managed in the Waikato – King Country region by Smart Waikato.

YES is open to ALL Years 12 and 13 students in the Waikato-King Country, regardless of whether they take part as a school – YES Connect has been developed to include entrepreneurial Years 12 and 13 students not participating in the programme through school.

YES Events 2024

YES Enrolments Open


Kickstart | Speed Coaching

Fri 23rd February, 9am – 12pm

Wintec Atrium | Hamilton

The Pitch (Challenge 2)

Wed 29th – Thurs 30th May, 9am – 4pm

Bill Gallagher Centre | Wintec City Campus

Trade Fair


Details TBD

Waikato Regional Finals

Wed 23rd October, 3pm – 6pm

Bill Gallagher Centre | Wintec City Campus

YES National Finals

Thurs 5th December


Regional Awards 2023

Waikato secondary school students took home top honours at the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme Waikato Regional Awards in October.

Liquidation, founded by sole trader Jacob Chetwin of Te Awamutu College, was named the Wintec Company of the Year at the awards.

Jacob, a year 12 student, has created a card game designed to teach year 7 and 8 students about business concepts and financial literacy. The strategic, educational game consists of 75-card deck and has already been played by over 700 students across the Waikato. Jacob plans to continue developing and expanding his business into 2024.

Other winners on the night were:

  • Foster Construction’s Runner Up – Reusaballs, Sacred Heart Girls College (Hamilton)
  • Waikato Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Financial Management Award – UniquelyMe, Sacred Heart Girls College (Hamilton)
  • EMA’s Excellence in Production Award – Down to Earth, Hamilton Boys High School
  • Waikato Pacific Business Network’s Pasifika Enterprise Award – Doughnas, Sacred Heart Girls’ College (Hamilton)
  • Waikato Business News’ Excellence in Promotion and Marketing Award – Cheeky Chocolates, Fraser High School
  • CAL Isuzu’s Excellence in Innovation Award – Tyred Dogz, Hauraki Plains College
  • The University of Waikato’s Excellence in Leadership Award – Anna Hart, Hauraki Plains College
  • Excellence in Sales – Bubble No Trouble, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
  • Best Trade Fair Presence – Reusaballs, Sacred Heart Girls College (Hamilton)
  • Excellence in Sustainability Award – Sprowt, St Peters Cambridge
  • Best Annual Review – Play Kāri, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
  • Commitment to Business Award – Liquidation, Te Awamutu College

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Get involved with YES!

Contact Waikato Coordinator: [email protected]