Belfast Enterprise Academy Celebrates Young Entrepreneurs

The Belfast Enterprise Academy has held a celebration event at City Hall for the city's newest entrepreneurs.

Innovative products and businesses created as a result of this year's Belfast Enterprise Academy include 'Startent' – a tent with a see through roof, 'Snap It' - a stress-reducing wristband for young people, a kitchen product for use by children and people with visual impairments, a radio frequency ordering system for bars and restaurants, a rainwater recycling business and a training aid to help the early diagnosis of hip dysplasia.

36 students from Belfast Metropolitan College, Queen's University and Ulster University took part in this year's Belfast Enterprise Academy, a Belfast City Council pre-enterprise support programme which helps third year students to develop their own businesses.

Councillor Mairéad O'Donnell, Chair of Belfast City Council's City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: "This is the eighth year of our award-winning Belfast Enterprise Academy – and it goes from strength to strength with each intake. This year's ambitious young participants explored their business ideas, were supported to apply creativity to their concepts and they've gained best practice knowledge from successful local businesses.

"We've made a commitment in The Belfast Agenda to foster business growth in the city and I'm delighted to report that 13 new businesses will start as a result of Belfast Enterprise Academy 2017. We wish these young people every success and hope that others will be inspired by their motivation and commitment."
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The 2017 Belfast Enterprise Academy comprised a business challenge residential, workshops to explore creativity business ideas and entrepreneurial skills, tailored, one-to-one mentor support, opportunities to engage with successful and inspiring businesses and support to develop a start-up action plan. The participants were also awarded the 'Level 3 Award in Business Development' Open College Network accreditation.

Participants had this to say:

Steven Power, Queen's University, Belfast said: "The best way I can describe the Belfast Enterprise Academy is a massive stepping stone to an endless amount of opportunities. My concept has come on leaps and bounds from starting the course and I definitely wouldn't have got this far without it".

Maeve Hanna, Ulster University: "The Belfast Enterprise Academy has developed my skills and widened my business contact network. It's pushed me to kick-start my career and has been a huge part of helping me make decisions for my future."

Sharon Plumridge, and Michael McAleer, Belfast MET: "The Belfast Enterprise Academy has eradicated some of the pre-conceived notions we had about who could set up a business and how. It's been really refreshing to know that there's no set way to work and we would definitely recommend the programme to others".

83 student led start-up businesses have now been formed thanks to the Belfast Enterprise Academy over the last eight years.

Registrations for the Belfast Enterprise Academy programme will re-open in September 2017. For more information, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/bea

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