Final Call for Young Entrepreneurs!

The final call has gone out for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow to enter the 2006 Student Enterprise Awards.

The Awards have been designed to develop and promote innovation and entrepreneurship amongst third level students across the Island of Ireland.

Open to all full-time undergraduate and post graduate students attending any third level educational institution, the closing date for entries is the 6th March.

Sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Ulster Bank, the competition offers a total prize fund of approximately £30,000 and the opportunity to win the highly coveted title of ‘College Entrepreneurs of the Year’.

Commenting on the awards Oonagh Hinds from Invest NI’s Entrepreneurship Development Team said:

“This competition is a tremendous opportunity for young people right across the Island of Ireland to develop and showcase their entrepreneurial skills. Only by encouraging young people to think creatively and innovatively will we be able to ensure the future success of our economy.”

Many previous entrants have managed to achieve real commercial success with their entries including last year’s overall winners from Queens University Belfast. The students created the highly innovative product SmartScreen - a glare reduction technology for use in automobiles.

This year Doug Richard from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den programme will join the judging panel. Founder and Chairman of Information Services company Library and co-founder of the Cambridge Angels, a technology start-up support organisation, Doug has made a personal fortune investing in sound business ideas.

“We are delighted to have Doug Richard on the judging panel this year,” says Colm Hackett, Manager of Regions & Entrepreneurship with Enterprise Ireland. “As a very successful self-made business man, he exemplifies the true meaning of being an entrepreneur. I would encourage any students who have a business idea and entrepreneurial leaning to enter these awards as this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.”

Speaking on the importance of the awards, Kevin Kingston, Director Business Banking NI Ulster Bank said: “The importance of incubating entrepreneurialism can never be underestimated, nor can it start soon enough. Northern Ireland students need to be exposed to the levels of business thinking, enterprise and creativity which their European and American counterparts have enjoyed for generations and this scheme helps position the spirit of enterprise at the heart of learning.”

The winners of the competition will be announced at a special awards presentation ceremony at Queen’s University Belfast on the 6th April 2006.