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A Whāngarei woman who gave up a nursing career to go into business making raw cakes is working with Air New Zealand to have her products used on the airline.

And it’s largely thanks to the skills she received from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Angeleen Lewers completed the Certificate in Small Business Management in May and says without the course she would never have had the confidence or knowledge to successfully pitch her rawfood cakes to the national airline.

“I couldn’t have approached Air New Zealand without doing this course,” she says.

“Definitely Te Wānanga o Aotearoa helped me hugely. The course gave me a lot more mana, strength and knowledge to be a successful businesswoman.”

When she first enrolled on the course, Angeleen says all she wanted was a “piece of paper to say I was a business woman and that I have the right to be a business woman”.

But that all changed during the nine-month course.

“At the end, the bit of paper was obsolete. I didn’t need it because the course helped me to become that business woman. I had the strength and confidence I needed,” she says.

“I had reservations about what I would get out of it but it really nurtured my inner self. It made me a lot more focussed so that whatever comes up, I know I’ve got the knowledge and the resources to be able to help.”

Angeleen launched her raw cakes business 14 months ago, giving up a 10-year career as a registered nurse so she could work with her mother.

“Whānau is very important to me,” she says.

“It’s not all about the money and having lots of power, it’s about being true to yourself, it’s your own journey and I feel like I can make a difference to clients.”

She deals with her own allergies so raw cakes was an obvious area to focus on. It’s also a market with strong potential.

“Allergies aren’t going to go away and there will be more people making these sorts of decisions in the future. We’re one of a kind, we’re the only business in New Zealand doing this so we’re going to run with it.”

Angeleen says she also knows she can still talk to her kaiako for advice if she needs to.

“Even though I graduated in May I still have that support behind me. I know I can talk to her at any time and that’s great. It’s given me so much strength and if I can do this, other people can do it too.”

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