Student Businesses Celebrate Year Of Enterprise

The elite of Northern Ireland's young entrepreneurs are celebrating the Young Enterprise Awards at Belfast City Hall to recognise the hard work and dedication from students who completed the Company Programme this year.

Local charity Young Enterprise, with support from professional services firm EY and Ulster University Business School, is holding its annual awards ceremony where the top student businesses and individuals from across Northern Ireland are crowned.

The winning company will go on to represent Northern Ireland in the Young Enterprise UK Finals at the British Film Institute in London in July.

The Company Programme gives young people the chance to run their own business over the academic year with guidance from a business volunteer, sell their products at trade fairs and compete with other schools.

The process to get to this stage involved a pitch and interview at Invest NI's Headquarters in Belfast, facing a panel of some of Northern Ireland's top business moguls.

Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Education, said: "My Department is pleased to support Young Enterprise Northern Ireland and the Company Programme has provided the opportunity for school children to develop new entrepreneurial skills, work with local businesses and ultimately prepare them for their future career paths. I want to congratulate the students who have completed this year's Programme and to wish the winning company good luck in the upcoming finals in July."
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Professor Mark Durkin, Executive Dean of Ulster University Business School, added: "Ulster University Business School is delighted to support Young Enterprise. Experiencing how businesses actually work through the YE programme is an invaluable way of encouraging more young people to actively pursue a business career and ultimately contribute to creating a more entrepreneurial economy within Northern Ireland.

"Our vision is to be the leading centre for entrepreneurial education in the UK and Ireland by 2021. The young people who have completed this YE programme will now have had a taste of the excitement which business success brings and we look forward to them becoming part of our entrepreneurial vision for opportunity creation across Northern Ireland and globally through our 60,000 strong alumni network."

The EY Entrepreneur of the Future award recognises individuals with a strong desire to set up and run a business in the future. The two winners will attend the Next Generation Leaders Forum in Canada in August to collaborate and network with global peers.

Cary Wilson, Transaction Advisory Services Partner for EY, who judged the EY Entrepreneur of the Future category, said: "On behalf of EY, we are delighted to once again support this year's Young Enterprise Awards. As a firm, we strongly believe that supporting business, education and entrepreneurship is fundamental to creating a better society and a better working world.

"The Young Enterprise Programme serves to inspire young people throughout Northern Ireland to be creative, think outside the box, and have the confidence to pursue their ideas and ambitions so we're delighted to be able to do our part to support such an important initiative and to see it go from strength to strength."


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