An entrepreneurial group of Avondale College Business students have made an impression at the Young Enterprise competition, gaining selection as finalists in the West Auckland region, and winning two awards in the regional finals.
CHEA Chocolates is the business of Simran Tak,Tristan Mona, Merlin Babu, Hamish Johnston and David Dudov, who came up with an innovative vegan milk chocolate product to fill a gap they saw in the market which currently only provides dark chocolate for vegan consumers. "Our company was CHEA Chocolates and stands for Conscience, Health, Environment and Animals," says leader Simran Tak. "We are an environmentally sustainable brand that has introduced a vegan milk chocolate to the market while also trying to reduce plastic packaging by creating a seed infused paper sleeve to wrap our chocolates in." The group overcame a number of challenges in refining their product and finding the perfect recipe. "It took almost two months to finalise the formulation so that the chocolate would snap as well as taste great," says Simran. "This was particularly difficult in the lockdown because we couldn't buy ingredients as often to trial every recipe." The team were delighted to be selected for the West Auckland awards night on Friday 21 October, and were also pleased to win two awards: one for Excellence in Sustainability due to the repurposing of their packaging, and the second one for paying it forward to future years, thanks to their donations towards keeping the YES programme running into 2021. "It was also a great feeling to know that our team efforts paid off!" says Simran. "We would like to thank Mr Bramston and Ms Whitcombe for all their support throughout the year for the Young Enterprise Scheme!"