Posted on Friday 4 May 2012 by Ulster Business

Company of the Year

'QuirkTees' from Wallace High School, Young Enterprise Northern Ireland Company of the Year 2012, are pictured at Young Enterprise Northern Ireland's 25th Anniversary Celebrations at Titanic Belfast, with Russell Welsh and Deborah Johnston of the Department of Education, guest speaker James McCullagh, Professor Marie McHugh of Ulster Business School, Michael Hall of Ernst and Young, Michael Mercieca of Young Enterprise UK and Ciaran Sheehan, Chair of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland.

Belfast’s newest tourist attraction played host to Northern Ireland’s young business talent, as Young Enterprise Northern Ireland celebrated the successes of almost 1,500 student entrepreneurs at its annual ‘Company of the Year’ awards ceremony at Titanic Belfast.

The event, supported by Ulster Business School, marked the culmination of the UK’s leading business and enterprise education charity’s celebrations to commemorate 25 years of Company Programme in Northern Ireland.

Supported by the Department of Education, Young Enterprise Northern Ireland has facilitated the involvement of almost 1,500 young people across in Company and Team Programmes during the current academic year, whereby they establish and manage their own student enterprise with the assistance of expertise from local business mentors.

The Wallace High School, Lisburn, picked up the award for Company of the Year with their business ‘QuirkTees’, which designed and produced innovative T-shirts.

The runner up was $ave On from Banbridge Academy, while Growth Spurt from Thornhill College in Derry-Londonderry were also highly commended.

Carol Fitzsimons, CEO of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland commented: “The students deserve a celebration of this scale to recognise the hard work and commitment they have demonstrated over the past year. Their innovation and determination to achieve business success bodes well for the future of our local economy.

“Company and Team Programmes not only complement the Northern Ireland school curriculum, but support the Executive’s latest Programme for Government in delivering its number one priority – a vibrant economy which can transform our society while dealing with the deprivation and poverty which has affected some of our communities for generations.”

She added that Young Enterprise’s Northern Ireland region is one of the most active regions when it comes to developing enterprising skills within young people, working with almost 100,000 students to develop entrepreneurship and employability skills every year.

“Modern employers now demand more than academic achievement, and require evidence that new employees are “work-ready” and equipped with the relevant skills to integrate into a modern business environment,” added Carol.

“The development of entrepreneurial skills within our young people will have far-reaching effects in terms of growing our economy, as well as increasing the employability of our future generations.”

Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of Ulster Business School, which supports Young Enterprise said it was fantastic to witness young people taking their first steps in business.

She added: ‘The Ulster Business School is very pleased to be associated with Young Enterprise Northern Ireland and to celebrate the achievements of the participants of the Company and Teams Programme who have worked hard and achieved so much over the past year.

“I know that students obtain many benefits from Young Enterprise Programmes, and gain an invaluable insight into businesses, and how they run. The experience of working with business and organisations generates an enthusiasm for enterprise, and an engagement with business, which students carry with them after their education and into work.”

Other awards on the night include the IoD Entrepreneur of the Future Award, which was presented to Laura Marshall from Markethill High School and the Team Programme category winner Crafty Creations from Tor Bank School.


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