Young entrepreneur off to the Big Apple

08 November 2011

Business School student Jonathan Wrait has just two weeks to pack his bags for New York after winning the New Zealand finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.

Jonathan came out on top with his business Virtuoso Tutoring, which tutors secondary school students in partnership with their high schools, and will now represent New Zealand in the global finals at the New York Stock Exchange later this month.

Chief judge Tony Falkenstein, CEO of Just Water International and a member of the Business School Supporters’ Council, says the awards are highly competitive and Jonathan is a worthy winner to go up against the best student entrepreneurs in the world.

“The main goal of the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards is to inspire and support entrepreneurship amongst students,” Tony says.

“In the past four years the worldwide programme has gone from a few hundred students to more than 2,000 students across more than 40 countries. The competition recognises top student leaders who operate their own profitable businesses while studying.”

Jonathan is heading into his final year of a BA, majoring in Psychology, and has been heavily involved in the Spark Entrepreneurship Challenge over the past four years, first as an entrant then for two years as a member of the organising committee. He is now Spark’s marketing lead and his experience with the organisation inspired him to create two more businesses, Redit Proofreading and digital marketing agency Digitribal.

He set up Virtuoso Tutoring with former Westlake Boys High School classmate Jonathan Lawry to provide one-on-one tutoring for students straight after school. After starting off at Westlake Girls High School, Virtuoso has since added Northcote College to its partner schools and also holds tutorials at Rosmini College and Hato Petera.

At the global finals Jonathan will pitch his business to the judges in a bid to win the overall US$10,000 cash prize, plus more than US$150,000 of donated products and services including web services, printing, PR and consulting.

He describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur” with a passion for helping people and plans to grow his businesses after he graduates from University.

“I want to inspire other students to give business a go – just get out there and do it. You never know where it might lead. I’ve learnt an incredible amount over the last two to three years as a student entrepreneur and I look forward to continuing to grow in the future,” Jonathan says.

Business School student Chuck Slogrove rounded out the top three in the New Zealand finals with his advertising venture Green Box.

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is the premier global competition for undergraduate students and brings global visibility to student business owners who are innovative, profitable and socially responsible. Students can only enter the awards if they have been running their for profit business for at least the past six consecutive months.