More than 80 Young Enterprise companies have been putting their sales techniques to the test during trade fairs across Northern Ireland. Having announced an exciting partnership with FSB Northern Ireland, students took over various venues to sell their products to the public during six trade fairs in February.
From recycled high-vis vests for dogs and an array of Valentine’s gifts to handmade wooden speakers and luxury water bottles, there was anything and everything up for sale. These budding entrepreneurs are taking part in the Young Enterprise Company Programme which sees students develop a marketable product and business plan under the guidance of a Young Enterprise volunteer business adviser. The programme runs until the end of the academic year in May where a panel of Northern Ireland’s top businesspeople will decide the Company of the Year to represent Northern Ireland in the UK-wide finals held in London in June.
As the UK’s leading business organisation, FSB’s aim is to help smaller businesses to achieve their ambitions, and this partnership with Young Enterprise NI was designed to encourage students to consider setting up their own business, as well as providing them with the opportunity to discuss their business ideas with real life entrepreneurs from their local area.
Having judged at the Belfast area Trade Fair, FSB’s Belfast City Branch representative Evan Morton, said: “I am delighted that we are supporting Young Enterprise throughout Northern Ireland, particularly by funding this aspect of its work in the Company programme. Young Enterprise’s mission is to equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to leave education prepared for life and work. We, in FSB, continue to encourage those providing education at every stage to ensure that enterprise and entrepreneurship are valued, and that young people are encouraged to consider self-employment or setting up their own business as a viable alternative to simply ‘getting a job’. It worked for me, and I hope the advice and support that we in FSB can offer inspires some of these students to continue their journeys into enterprise and entrepreneurship.”
Carol Fitzsimons MBE, Chief Executive of the Young Enterprise charity, commented: “We are delighted to be working with FSB and their members to support the students during the Regional Trade Fairs. Small businesses are the lifeblood of business across local communities in Northern Ireland, and it is important for students to meet real life local entrepreneurs and learn directly from them about the thrills and challenges of owning and running your own business. We are grateful for their financial and volunteering support.
“We would like to thank everyone who came along to the trade fairs to support their local Young Enterprise companies. The standard was extremely high this year, with lots of creative ideas coming through. Congratulations to all companies for taking part and I look forward to seeing them at the next stage.”
To check out the photos from the 6 regional trade fairs click here.