Two philanthropic young Kiwis have taken out top honours in the inaugural 2016 #MyBizQuest competition, winning a $10,000 business mentoring package for their newly established business, Little Yellow Bird (LYB).
Christchurch born Samantha Jones founded ethical apparel company LYB in July 2015; she was later joined by co-founder Hannah Duder. Together they have built the foundations of a successful business.
LYB aims to create sustainable business practices and improve employment and social conditions in developing communities around the world. The company sells corporate clothing to local businesses and, in the process, empowers vulnerable women by providing them with employment opportunities across the entire supply chain.
MATT SILCOCK/QUEST. Samantha Jones and Hannah Duder have built the foundations of a successful business - Little Yellow Bird.
Quest Apartment Hotels established #MyBizQuest earlier this year to identify a New Zealand start-up business that would benefit from financial backing and expert advice.
"New Zealand is producing exceptional start-up businesses and Quest is passionate about supporting these innovative Kiwis. We're really looking forward to mentoring Jones and Duder over the next year and can't wait to see where they take LYB to next," says Quest Apartment Hotels (NZ) chief executive Stephen Mansfield.
Samantha Jones, co-founder of LYB, says, "One of the most valuable outcomes of winning #MyBizQuest has been meeting with Stephen and leveraging his expertise to help us to take our business to the next level."
Jones spent eight months developing the business concept before officially launching LYB in Christchurch in July last year. While there are other apparel companies that cater to the corporate market, she saw an opportunity to start a corporate clothing company with a distinct social purpose.
Co-founder Hannah Duder says, "Running your own business can be difficult but having support from a well-established company like Quest is extremely helpful. Through this process we have the opportunity to learn from their experience and access their wider support network."
There is currently no other uniform company in New Zealand promoting ethical practice with a transparent process and supply chain. LYB offers easy corporate social responsibility for businesses – products are completely customisable at no additional cost to the customer.
LYB will be working with Quest over the next year to not only grow their business but educate their customers on ethical manufacturing.
"We are passionate about using business as a force for good. Through our business venture, we want to prove that you can run a successful business built on a moral foundation," says Jones.
To find out more about Little Yellow Bird visit www.littleyellowbird.co.nz