A 17-year-old Papamoa college student has been recognised for her work tackling period poverty.
Shuari Naidoo, of Moraka Menstrual Cups, won Entrepreneur of The Year for the Young Enterprise Scheme Regional Finals late last month.
Moraka Menstrual Cups was born earlier this year through YES. Shuari started the social enterprise alongside fellow students Avleen Gill, Jessica Nicholls and Indrea Werder.
Shuari says the group's mission goes much further than just selling menstrual cups.
"We have a social message to share through Moraka Menstrual Cups. No female should have to go without sanitary products.
"We understand period poverty is a real issue, and we want to shed light on that. What better way of doing that than through menstrual cups.
"Corporate social responsibility is part of our brand, we want to promote awareness around periods and break the stigma."
The group source the menstrual cups from a Christchurch based brand called My Cup NZ.
Moraka Menstrual Cups have high hopes for the future, with the end goal of stocking their products in Tauranga supermarkets.
"We want to make sure our cup is sustainable, cost-efficient and catered towards anyone who wants it.
"I really want to supply to Countdown and other local supermarkets. The price of menstrual cups in supermarkets at the moment is unattainable for many women."
Coordinator of the YES regional finals Pascale Hybound-Peron says this year 138 students in Tauranga participated in the scheme.
Pascale was inspired by Shuari's confidence and determination addressing period stigma.
"She showed real determination to speak up, speak out and advocate. It is a difficult subject, and she worked really smartly around finding a way to make this everyday conversation.
"These are the type of ideas that really move our dial, they can really make changes. When I see businesses like this, I am excited and hopeful for our future," says Pascale.
The social enterprise has only sold 11 menstrual cups this year, but Shuari says it’s still early days for Moraka Menstrual Cups.
“The business is a work in progress. Next year we want to extend our brand. Whether we sold [a few] menstrual cups or 100, we would still have the ultimate goal of educating people.”
For more information about Moraka Menstrual Cups, visit: www.facebook.com/morakamenstrualcups