Posted on Friday 10 May 2013 by Ulster Business
Michael Hall, Managing Partner at Ernst & Young Northern Ireland; Chris Robinson, Managing Director of Twist 'N' Spread; Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise UK and Carol Fitzsimons, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland.
Wallace High School pupils, through their company Twist 'N' Spread, beat stiff competition from across Northern Ireland by manufacturing, marketing and selling the 'Butter Finger' – a twistable tube filled with butter which is a mess-free alternative to conventional spreading.
Having clinched the top spot, the firm will now go on to represent Northern Ireland at the national awards in London, which will take place in July.
Supported by the Department of Education, Young Enterprise Northern Ireland has facilitated the involvement of almost 1600 young people across in Company and Team Programmes during the current academic year. Participants are tasked with establishing and managing their own student enterprise with the expert assistance of local business mentors.
Carol Fitzsimons, CEO of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland, said: "This year we have once again seen the talent and creativity of our young entrepreneurs. The ingenuity of the products they've produced, and the effort of all students who have taken part, shows the strength in depth of the Young Enterprise programmes."
"As an organisation, Young Enterprise Northern Ireland is able to reach nearly a third of the school population here with our team of over 1000 business advisors. In line with the Programme for Government, we will continue to build on the success of this year's activity to foster innovation and an entrepreneurial culture among our young people. We know we can create even stronger links between schools and the business community."
During the awards, hosted by DJ Pete Snodden, prizes were also presented to Tor Bank School, Dundonald, as the winners of the Team Programme – a competition for students with learning challenges – and Matthew Gibson, from St Malachy's College, Belfast, as Young Entrepreneur of the Future. Keynote speaker Aaron Taylor from Goprezzo shared his experience of setting up a business and advised the young entrepreneurs to pursue careers that they are passionate about.
Michael Hall, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, Northern Ireland, said: "We are delighted once again to support this year's Young Enterprise Awards.
"We firmly believe at Ernst & Young 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."
Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of the Ulster Business School said: "Working alongside Young Enterprise Northern Ireland is an ideal way to prepare our young people for the world of business. The Ulster Business School is delighted to support the Young Enterprise Northern Ireland Annual Awards and help celebrate the many outstanding achievements of students on the Company Programme, inspiring them to create and run their own business.
"By providing students with the opportunity to gain an early insight into business, we hope to influence their views in terms of employment opportunities and career prospects. Self-employment and entrepreneurship are important components of economic growth and development in Northern Ireland and the Company programme is an ideal way to encourage and to foster the entrepreneurial flair of our young people.
"The Company Programme complements the work that we do at the Ulster Business School, and it gives students a flavour of the exciting programmes that we have on offer at what is a most innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial business school."