11 Dec 2014

Eighteen-year-olds win business prize

From Nine To Noon, 9:37 am on 11 December 2014

Naotia Atiana RNZ Dru Faulkner
Naotia Atiana. Photo: RNZ/Dru Faulkner.

Black garlicThe Black Bulb company was started by four 17 and 18-year-olds from Manurewa High School in Auckland. They manufacture and sell black garlic aioli and puree – and have won the business enterprise category of the Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards.

One of the founders, Naotia Atiana, says none of the students had any business experience. She says she decided to go with a friend to a Young Enterprise meeting at the school and was inspired to sign up. She was immediately named finance director of the fledgling company. Naotia Atiana says the team had to quickly learn skills such as marketing, taxation and product research.

She says they chose black garlic because of its health benefits and mild taste, which comes from the slow fermentation process, and because they learned that high end dressings and sauces for restaurants were trending.

The Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards have been running for five years, and this year seven winners were whittled down from 100 entries.

They were set up to recognise outstanding young achievers the fields of leadership and inspiration, business and enterprise, learning and teaching, sport and fitness and arts and creativity; with each winner receiving up to $10,000 to invest in their futures.

Kathryn Ryan talks to Naotia Atiana of the Black Bulb company, and also to the winner of the Leadership and Inspiration Category, Sione Manuolevao, a platoon commander with the NZ Defence Force. He has been recognised for his volunteer work with youth, and mentoring of young Pasifika men.

Video of Tuesday night's award ceremony