Step ‘N’ Zones to business success


Bill Scott, Director of Regional Economic Development within Invest Northern Ireland, has urged Northern Ireland’s young people to develop their entrepreneurial skills to help transform the enterprise landscape.

Mr Scott was speaking during his visit to the Step ‘N’ Zones enterprise competition, which took place on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 November, at the Ramada Hotel, Shaws Bridge, Belfast. The enterprise competition was organised by Invest NI as part of its contribution to Global Entrepreneurship Week, It attracted 40 school entries and almost 1,000 students aged 11-13 will took part over the two days.

Mr Scott said: “We know that events like this can transform people’s attitude to enterprise and we want to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. Events like this help us to connect young people, allow them to share ideas and help them develop the knowledge and confidence they need to pursue their ambition.

“Giving these young people the tools they need to become entrepreneurs is one of the strongest solutions we have for the challenges our economy currently faces. As we focus on helping existing businesses through the current downturn, it is important that we also ensure that we have helped to develop the skills and talent required to support future economic growth.”

The competition was designed to challenge the next generation of entrepreneurs to explore the potential of business ideas through a series of workshops and zoned events. Each of the contributing zones was set up to help the competitors to develop the planning, research, finance and branding skills needed to grow successful businesses.

“The Step ‘N’ Zones competition is one of a number of initiatives supported by Invest NI which aim to inspire young people and encourage them to develop vital business skills such as communication, negotiation, and creative thinking,” added Mr Scott.

The schools that took part have now been entered into a national competition where they can win up to £1,000 in prizes. The winners will be announced later this month. Invest NI has partnered with Advantage NI, YENI, W5, Sentinus and HBD Design to deliver the event.