Apollo Coffee brewing for national success

SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 / Articles

The awards keep percolating for Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) company Apollo Coffee. Competing in the YES Northland region, the Kaipara Campus team has achieved:

  • First-equal out of 57 companies in the Dragon’s Den phase.
  • First for business plan and second for business card in the “Taniwhas” investment pitch event.
  • Best stall at the Top Energy YES Northland Regional Trade Fair held at the Old Packhouse Market near Kerikeri (out of @35 YES vendors).
  • First in the ad competition.
  • First in the Storbie website competition

The young entrepreneurs driving this success are:

  • Mathias Foster (Marketing)
  • Oscar Boakes (CEO)
  • Regan Wearmouth (Finance)
  • Jed Wearmouth (Operations)
  • Stirling Smith (Sales and Communications)

Like all successful YES companies, these young entrepreneurs are working very hard to get to the top, juggling the demands of running a business with Level 3 NCEA and other school commitments. But they have also had to overcome tragedy, losing one of their team members, Jamie Wearmouth, in a car accident in June.

The students are inspired not just for Jamie, but to create a company that is sustainable for the future, that can provide jobs for New Zealanders, and profits for their growers.

“We have a culture of caring – for the growers, the beans, and our customers,” says Oscar.

Apollo operates in a very crowded space, but these entrepreneurs also know that there’s a great opportunity for a product that is genuinely ethically sourced. It has a traceable supply chain, and is giving back not only through fair trade terms, but by providing educational materials. A growing number of cafes now stock Apollo based on the quality of the beans, and their merchants.

Developing different revenue streams, the company also markets everything a café needs to sell coffee, including machines, grinders and cups.

Young Enterprise regional coordinator Gary Larkan is very impressed. There are 69 teams in the Northland region and Apollo Coffee is one that has stood out, he says. “They really know their business. You can ask them anything and they will be able to answer it straight away. All four judges in the regional heats noted how serious the boys were about the business opportunity. That’s a good thing.”

The students are now preparing an annual review for the final phase for selection for national awards, including Company of the Year.