Invest Northern Ireland Challenges Schools To Be Entrepreneurial

As part of Enterprise Week 2006, Invest Northern Ireland is challenging all school children, aged between 11 and 14 years old, from across Northern Ireland to take part in a Dragon’s Den styled competition to develop an innovative new business idea.

Called ‘The Future is Yours’ all children entering the competition will have to create a new business concept or product with a healthy living theme to present to a panel of judges, including Jason Shankey, one of Northern Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs and Bryan Keating an Invest NI board member.

Each member of the overall winning team will receive a top of the range lap-top and £5,000 worth of IT equipment for their school, whilst the runners-up will each receive an i-Pod.

Launching ‘The Future is Yours’ Ian Murphy, Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship at Invest NI said:  

“In organising this competition we are attempting to encourage more young people to consider starting a business. Only by doing this and exposing children at an early age to the benefits of enterprise will we be able to build a vibrant and successful future economy.”

The competition submission deadline is the 27 October with all finalists contacted the following week. All short-listed schools will then be invited to attend the grand finale at Invest NI’s HQ on 10 November.

At this event the teams will have to present their finished business proposals to the judging panel before the overall winner is announced.

Commenting on the launch, Peter Wilmont, from Cedar Lodge school, Newtownabbey, currently working with Invest NI to help promote and co-ordinate the competition, said:

“This competition has been specifically designed to give young people a flavour of what is needed to help get a business off the ground. In working on their submissions the children will learn many of the practical skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur as well as how to work effectively as part of a team.”

All entries must include full details of the proposed concept or product, the suggested branding or logos to be used, as well as a marketing plan to help promote it.

‘The Future is Yours’ is being held in the run-up to National Enterprise Week, 13-19 November.  Organised locally by Invest NI, Enterprise Week is a UK-wide series of events designed to celebrate entrepreneurial talent and encourage more people to start a business or improve an existing one.  

For more information on the ‘Future is Yours’ competition log on to