Students from across Northern Ireland once again had the enviable opportunity to launch, promote and sell their own innovative products at the Young Enterprise Big Market in December.

St George’s Market was taken over by in excess of 700, 11 to 25-year-old students from across the country who are taking part in this year’s Young Enterprise Company, Team and Quick Start and Start Up Programmes. The charity’s leading entrepreneurial programmes allow students to create a unique business then produce, promote and sell their products or services for the first time.

The event, which was open to the general public, was attended by business leaders from across NI, some of whom were there to mentor the students and others who had the hard job of judging the best student companies. Over 70 businesses consisting of young people from the ages of 11 to 25 were selling everything from story books, hair scrunches, dog accessories, to collapsible coffee mugs and seasonal decorations amongst other things.

Natasha Stephenson and Josh McClurg from Regent House Grammar School with Mark Brooks, Belfast Giants, Bill Wolsey, Young Enterprise Ambassador & Pete Snodden Young Enterprise Ambassador.

Carol Fitzsimons MBE, Young Enterprise Chief Executive said: “Our Company Programmes are vital for young people to develop skills for future success. The recent CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Annual Report highlights that, alongside qualifications, businesses highly value work readiness and broader skills. In fact 60 per cent of the businesses surveyed by the CBI are clear that key drivers of success for young people in their working lives are attitudes and attributes like resilience, communication and problem solving. Businesses rated these skills as among their top priorities when recruiting.

“As the leading entrepreneurship and enterprise education charity, Young Enterprise is committed to giving all young people in Northern Ireland the chance to develop and practise these skills. Skills that they will need to succeed in the world of work. Embedding entrepreneurial education into school programmes is one of the most important ways to prepare our children for life beyond the classroom. Today students need much more than a good academic grounding to excel, and learning linked to real-life situations is always more meaningful. Throughout the day we watched our young entrepreneurs execute all their learning from the programmes to connect with not just their customers but also their competitors and teammates on the day.

“A big thanks goes out to all the schools who support their students in taking part, our mentors, and judges, without whom The Big Market simply couldn’t be the success it is.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Education, and our Company programme Patrons, Ulster University, Bank of Ireland, Allstate, Irish News and Cool FM. Thanks to Belfast City Council for the use of St George’s Market.”

Winners & Runners Up

Quick Start Winner – Assumption Grammar School
Quick Start Runner up – Assumption Grammar School
Business Beginnings Winner – St Brigid’s Primary School Brocagh
Team Programme Winner – Killard House School
Team Programme Runner Up – Jordanstown Special School
Start Up Winner – Ulster University Magee
Start Up Programme Runner Up – Ulster University Coleraine
Company Programme Winner – Glenlola Collegiate School
Company Programme Runners up – Wallace High School & Friends School Lisburn

Featured image: St Brigid’s PS – Winners of Best ‘Business Beginnings’ group

Get your school involved in a Young Enterprise Programme today.
Visit or call on Tel: 028 9032 7003
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland is supported by the Department of Education.

Heather Black

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