Year 13 Pakuranga College student Eric Irani was named an individual of the year at the recent Young Enterprise Scheme East Auckland regional finals.
It’s a heady title and one awarded to students who demonstrate strong leadership qualities.
The skills to motivate team members, support peers’ growth and be accountable for the business are essential, organisers said.
Eric is the CEO of Young Enterprise business HIP Cards, selling playing cards designed to promote cultural inclusivity by teaching players how to greet each other in different languages.
This year all precedents were broken, with the award going to three outstanding students in the east Auckland competition, including Eric.
“I’m very honoured to be recognised but the business was a team effort. We knew we had a good product and we worked hard to get it out there,” says Eric.
The idea for the product came after discovering that ethnic communities make up around a fifth of New Zealand’s population, a statistic derived from the 2018 census.
Year 13 business studies teacher David Dunlop says, “Eric was committed to the business and his role within it from the outset.
“He reached out to everyone he could including politicians, media, local schools and the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, which resulted in the ministry filming the group and publicising their initiative.”
Thanks to the efforts of Eric and fellow team members Joshua Hall, Aman Kumar and Lucas Greenwood, HIP Cards secured a spot in the top eight businesses for the east Auckland region.
The team went on to present at the regional finals, where they were awarded the Cultural Excellence Award and were named runners-up in the National Excellence Award for Best Social Enterprise.
“We have been pleased with the continued strong performance of Pakuranga College teams in the Young Enterprise Scheme, with two groups, HIP Cards and Prefix, being included in the top eight businesses for east Auckland this year.
“It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our students,” Dunlop says.