Competition to become one of Cookie Time’s Christmas Cookies entrepreneurs has reached record levels, with more than 750 applicants applying for just 71 positions nation-wide.
Each year the Christmas Cookies campaign hot-houses a new generation of young Kiwi entrepreneurs, offering tertiary students a hands-on opportunity to run their own business selling Christmas Cookies in the six weeks leading up to Christmas.
The role acts like an intensive short course in business management, with sellers responsible for all aspects of operations, from sales and marketing through to distribution, inventory management and accounting. Sellers say the experience is highly sought after by future employers.
Applications closed this month, with 756 applicants from throughout the country - over 100 more than last year. Next step is an interview process, with successful applicants then attending a training conference in November. As well as getting ‘business 101’ coaching; the sellers also get face time with Cookie Time Limited (CTL) owners Michael Mayell and Guy Pope-Mayell.
Lizzie Parker, CTL marketing manager, says the response from prospective sellers has been phenomenal. "Over the last few years we have seen a steady increase in applicants but this is the most ever. Against a backdrop of rising unemployment it just goes to show that more than ever today's university students are keen to work hard and prove the gen-y stereotypes wrong" Parker says.
"It's not a job for the faint-hearted, as it's an intense sales job backed with all the business and administrative demands of being your own boss. At the same time, the potential rewards are significant, and directly linked to effort with last year's top seller earning far more in six weeks than they could in other summer jobs," she says.
Voted best New Zealand owned company by the grocery industry earlier this year-, CTL is home to some of New Zealand’s most loved food brands including Cookie Time cookies, Bumper Bars and the internationally patented One Square Meal. Christmas Cookies, now in the 27th year, are a limited edition product made each Christmas in three flavours - Chocolate Chip, Apricot Chocolate and Cranberry White Chocolate. Christmas Cookies go on sale in November.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of Christmas Cookies each year go to the Cookie Time Charitable Trust, a registered charitable trust established in 2003 to help New Zealand kids discover their gifts. With more than $1.4 million raised to date, the Trust supports many initiatives across three target areas: innovation in learning, thinking differently and physical pursuits.
Highlights of the Trust’s work include funding the establishment and ongoing work of Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand, with official government recognition for dyslexia achieved in 2007; growing the creativity of young New Zealanders through eTime, a business established in partnership with the Trust to enable innovative use of ICT; and a variety of unique smaller grants, including sponsorship for a young Kiwi ballet star to train at a legendary Russian ballet school.
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