Local charity Young Enterprise and Belfast City Council brought together over 800 young people from schools and youth groups across Northern Ireland on 7th December to help them launch their start-up businesses and get selling!
The company from Larne High School attended The Big Market event, which hosted over 90 businesses started by young people aged between 10 and 25 years. The young entrepreneurs developed their business skills and were given encouraged to consider a career in business by local business leaders who were on hand as judges and mentors on the day.
Products included mindfulness guides, gluten-free recipe books, fruit-infused bottles and handmade decorations. There was even a student company of 10 year olds from Clea Primary School selling beautiful hand crafted Fairy Doors.
The Big Market is the first key showcase event for young people taking part in the Young Enterprise NI Company, Team, QuickStart and Business Beginnings Programmes. The programmes develop employability skills, increase confidence, and get young people to consider business start-up as a future career option. To add to the excitement, local business leaders will be judging the companies to award prizes on the day and recognise their achievements.
Opening the event, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “I’m delighted to open the Big Market today and welcome schools from Belfast and across Northern Ireland to the city.
“This is an incredible opportunity for students to set up shop at St George’s Market for a day to not only showcase their products and make money but also to develop key enterprise skills.
“The Council supports budding and existing entrepreneurs in the city with a number of business events and programmes each year. Our award-winning Belfast Enterprise Academy is one such example - helping third-level students in the city set up enterprises while studying.
Education Minister Peter Weir said: “I have been greatly impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the students selling their products at The Young Enterprise Big Market. This event has provided all budding entrepreneurs with a flavour of trading in a live market environment and allowed them to develop skills for their future career paths. I would like to commend all those involved in putting together this event which highlights the benefits of having the support and involvement of the wider community in the life of our schools.”
Gillian Orr, Business Community Partner at Ulster Bank, who judged on the day said: “It was my pleasure to be a judge on the day, I really enjoyed the whole experience. It was genuinely inspiring to see the young people who were so passionate about their business and were clearly developing new entrepreneurial and social skills. The Big Market is a fantastic showcase of the innovation and creativity that we have within our schools and which is developed and encouraged through the Young Enterprise programmes. The toughest bit is picking the winners!”
Young Enterprise Chairman, Ciaran Sheehan, commented: “Each year Young Enterprise supports more than 3,500 young people start businesses across Northern Ireland, and over 90,000 gain enterprise skills through interactive business games & learning from business mentors. The Big Market has been a fantastic opportunity for these young people to gain experience in trading in a live market environment, whilst developing their skills and confidence for a successful future in life and in work. We’d like to the Belfast City Council, the Department of Education, and all our business supporters for helping make it a day the young people will remember.”
Young Enterprise NI is supported by the Department of Education, and donations from local businesses. For more information contact Jan Donaldson at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 028 9032 7003.