Kingsway School student Mi Rae Han, 16, says she was honoured to present the closing speech at the NZ Business Hall of Fame gala dinner in Auckland on Thursday August 15.
Mi Rae gave the speech as a representative of the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), an organisation that encourages students to pursue business. All Kingsway business studies students are YES members.
“It’s crazy, because I was thinking of not doing business studies this year, but YES has opened up so many opportunities for me,” Mi Rae says.
After a teacher encouraged her to apply, Mi Rae was selected to go to the YES’ Entrepreneurs in Action event in Wellington earlier this year. All 80 students selected for the trip received a $1000 scholarship to Massey University. Mi Rae and seven others were then selected for an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil in December.
The organisers contacted Mi Rae after the event to ask her to speak at the NZ Business Hall of Fame gala dinner.
“I was honoured when they asked me,” Mi Rae says. “It was nerve wracking, but I said yes straight away.”
Her speech included the importance of older and younger generations of business people working together to solve big world issues.
“We need to hear about the failures, as well as the successes, of the people who came before us in business and share ideas, so our generation learns to keep pushing and not to ‘settle’,” she told delegates at the dinner.
Mi Rae juggles her YES activities with being a school prefect, her part-time job as a tutor, and saving for her dream of one day living in a caravan.
Next year she will study towards an economics and arts degree at Massey University.
She also plans to continue her business studies class start-up called Revive, where she and her friends make jewellery from refurbished materials.
“There are a lot of things happening at once,” Mi Rae says. “It’s unbelievable. What I’d say to other students is to just apply for the things that you want, because you never know what might happen.”