Foster: Young entrepreneurs have huge role to play in growing economy

Picture: Press Eye Photography

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with Ryan Daly, winner of the Northern Bank Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Kevin Kingston, MD Business & Corporate Banking, Northern Bank.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today praised the creativity, flair and determination of Northern Ireland’s young entrepreneurs.

The Minister was speaking at the final of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2011.

Ryan Daly, 29, fought off stiff competition from seven other finalists to win the coveted award. Ryan started his company Daly Renewables, which designs, installs, commissions and provides maintenance for bespoke under floor heating and renewable energy systems, in August 2010.

Addressing the finalists at Parliament Buildings, Arlene Foster said: “This year’s finalists are all inspirational young people who have shown the judges they have the creativity, flair and determination to succeed in the business world.

“All eight finalists have worked extremely hard and have demonstrated a level of commitment and professionalism that deserves to be celebrated. We need to support and encourage more young entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland as they have a huge role to play in growing our future economy.”

Emphasising the important role enterprise plays in the Northern Ireland economy, the Minister added: “New businesses are a source of innovation and new ideas, wealth creation and employment. While inward investment is essential for any country or region striving to make its mark in a competitive world, of equal importance is indigenous industry both in terms of the growth of existing businesses and the need to encourage a greater number of people to start new, innovative, globally focussed businesses.

“Last year, Invest Northern Ireland made 2,987 offers to locally owned businesses totalling £61 million, which represents 51% of the total offers made. Many of these offers were to young companies, companies innovating and exporting for the first time.”

Many previous finalists of this competition are now Invest NI clients, such as Daryl Fullerton and Adrian Bradley, who founded Biznet Solutions. Daryl and Adrian were finalists in 2002 and their company now employs 22 people with offices in Belfast, Londonderry and Houston.

The Minister added: “Success stories like this give us all hope for the future. Hope that the young entrepreneurs represented here today can develop and grow their own businesses through continued hard work, innovation and export sales.”