Schoolmates turn cool idea into a business

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 31/05/2014
Lilia Alexander, Kristina Hutley, Dorothy Tanuvasa and Shannon Sologar
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ

KIWI FLAVOUR: Hutt Valley High School students Lilia Alexander, 16, Kristina Hutley, 17, Dorothy Tanuvasa, 17, and Shannon Sologar, 17, put their 'pineapple chunks' flavoured gelato to the taste test yesterday.

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Four Hutt Valley pineapple-lump lovers have teamed up with a gelato manufacturer to sell a flavour called "pineapple chunks" after their pitch to Cadbury was turned down.

The year 12 and 13 Hutt Valley High School students are part of the Young Enterprise Scheme (Yes) - a subject offered to senior students in which they come up with a business idea and sell it.

Shannon Sologar, 17, said they surveyed schoolmates to see whether gingernut, pavlova or pineapple lump was their preferred Kiwiana flavour.

When pineapple lumps won, Shannon approached chocolate and confectionery maker Cadbury to use the pineapple lump name but was told no.

"We were trying to work with ice-cream companies initially but weren't having any luck and then Nathan from Carrello del Gelato said he would work with us so we jumped at the opportunity."

Wellington Carrello director Nathan Meyer said the team, Tash Gelato, had great ideas and he was enjoying mentoring them and helping them improve the product.

"When you meet up-and-coming entrepreneurs, you bend over backwards to try and help them."

Meyer said his company made the gelato and the girls paid cost price, but from next week will pay them a slice of the profit when it goes on sale at his stalls.

This was the first time he had worked with Yes students and said it was about giving back to the community.

Shannon said they had 200 gelatos for sale at the school yesterday - the first of many stalls.

With 1700 students at the school it was a case of first-in-first-served as students poured out of class and rushed to join the queue.

Year 13 student Charlotte Parson described the gelato as "melting in the mouth" despite the chilly temperatures while eating it.

"It's not too sweet and I'd definitely come back for more."

Laundry in Wellington's Cuba St was set to start selling the gelato soon and the girls were also negotiating with a tuck shop company to take the product on. While selling gelato in the middle of winter sounds like a difficult job Shannon said "our hearts said to go with it and we think it's paying off".

Cadbury did not respond to calls for comment.

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- The Dominion Post

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