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Belfast High School impresses at glittering awards ceremony

05 June 2016

Young Entrepreneurs from Belfast High School enjoyed an exciting night at the Young Enterprise Awards at Belfast City Hall to recognise the hard work and dedication from students who completed the Company Programme this year. 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.

Local charity Young Enterprise, with support from Ulster University Business School and EY, staged its annual awards ceremony where the top businesses and individuals from across Northern Ireland were crowned. Lauren Coleman from Belfast Model School for Girls, and magician Rodd Hogg provided entertainment on the night, while young Enterprise Alumnus Reuben McFeeters gave the audience an insight into how he started his business, Way North.

Espero from Belfast High School was one of 6 finalists, out of almost 100 companies, in the running to become the Best Overall Company. They created a book aimed at helping children to learn Spanish and French. The process involved a daunting pitch and interview at Invest NI Headquarters in Belfast facing a panel of some of Northern Ireland’s top business moguls including David Elliot, Editor at Ulster Business, and Gerry McGinn, Chairman of the Strategic Investment Board. Another winning group on the night were BOOM! From Riverside School in Antrim, who collected their award for UK Winner for Best Advertisement.

Congratulations to all the winners on the night, but in particular Enlighten Hope from St Patrick’s College in Dungannon who took home the award for Best Overall Company and will go on to represent Northern Ireland in the UK Finals in July.

Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of Ulster University Business School, commented “Ulster University Business School is delighted to support Young Enterprise, as it aligns with our desire to shape futures and create a more entrepreneurial economy within Northern Ireland.  Working alongside Young Enterprise Northern Ireland is an ideal way to prepare our young people for the world of business.  Having seen first-hand the next generation of entrepreneurs that are nurtured throughout the duration of the Programme, we strongly believe that it is an ideal way to encourage and foster entrepreneurial flair in our youth, and support the development of a more entrepreneurial society.

 “The Company Programme complements the work that we do at Ulster University Business School, and it gives prospective students a flavour of the exciting programmes that we have on offer, at what is an innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial business school.”

Cary Wilson, from event supporter EY, commented “We are delighted once again to support this year’s Young Enterprise Awards.  We firmly believe at EY that supporting enterprise, education and entrepreneurship are fundamental to creating a better society.  We applaud the Young Enterprise Programme which really inspires young people throughout Northern Ireland to be creative, think outside the box and have the confidence to pursue a particular idea or ambition.  It is really inspiring to be part of a Programme which continues to go from strength to strength.”

The Young Enterprise Company Programme runs every year in schools across Northern Ireland, allowing students to develop their entrepreneurial skills whilst connecting with local businesses.

Company and Team Programme Judges:

David Elliott - Editor at Ulster Business Magazine, Greer Publications

Dr Michael McQuillan - Director of the Business Institute, Ulster University Business School

Judith Totten - Owner and Managing Director, Upstream Working Capital Ltd.

Gerry McGinn - Chairman of the Strategic Investment Board

David Hughes - Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards, Department of Education

Shelley Martin - Director, 4 Beauty Group and Young Enterprise Company Programme Alumna

Cary Wilson - Transactions Advisory Services Partner, EY

Peter Shields - Director, Etain

Ewan Boyle - Director, Johnston Campbell

Karen Smith - Project Lead, Disability Action Northern Ireland

Robert Pierce - Managing Director, The Pierce Partnership