Business prodigy makes impact with poo
A budding Nelson entrepreneur has wasted no time in making his mark on the international business world, scoring highly in a business competition by coming up with an innovative use for human poo.
Garin College student Joel MacManus, 17, part of the team behind Ethical Mall, an online e-commerce site offering ethically produced wares, came third in the 2012 Asia Pacific FedEx/JA ITC Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong.
His father, Dave MacManus, said the first he had heard of the success was when Joel, who is still overseas, emailed a photo of him holding a novelty cheque.
Joel had to produce an environmentally sustainable product from India, and he and team-mate Alice McFall, 17, from the Bay of Plenty, proposed a toilet that allowed human waste to be collected as eco-bricks, Mr MacManus said.
Since he had left for the three-day competition, Mr MacManus said he had only briefly heard from Joel, seeing him logged on to social media sites at all hours while working on his project.
"We got online at 7am, it was 3am in Hong Kong and they were working through to get their presentation together."
He was proud of his son's success, he said.
"We're pretty blown away, his mother was about in tears in happiness."
But he was unsure where his business abilities, like his drive and supply of original ideas, had come from.
"I don't think he gets it from either of us. He's just a driven person, I think he's been inspired by clever people.
"He's been very lucky in his education to be given a lot of passionate mentors as he's gone through."
While preparing for the competition, he had also been busy with school work, his duties as Ethical Mall chief executive, and his own job after school.
"I think Joel just goes in and just turns on what he has to turn on to do it right. He would have seen what this opportunity could do for him and would have given it everything."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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