Young entrepreneurs set for big finale

Celebrity television presenter and musician Myleene Klass will host the gala final of The Big Idea! business competition in Belfast on 18 November, organised by Invest Northern Ireland as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The competition aims to encourage a greater culture of enterprise and innovation through the development of creative business proposals by young students and social entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland.

Prizes of up to £10,000 will be awarded to help the winners further develop viable business ideas, and the winners of each category will also have the opportunity to visit a successful global business. The post-primary category winners will win a visit to the New York Stock Exchange, sponsored by NYSE Euronext Advanced Trading Solutions, the innovative commercial technology division of NYSE Euronext.

The Big Idea! gala final is sponsored by the Department of Education and the Department for Employment and Learning, and the regional stages were delivered by Advantage and other enterprise partners.

Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, said: “By urging more young people to be entrepreneurial and innovative and put their business ideas into practice, we can add more value to the Northern Ireland economy and increase the number of internationally competitive companies here.

“Participants in The Big Idea! represent the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders in Northern Ireland, and it is important that they are given the opportunity to showcase their ideas and receive a boost to develop their concepts. The regional winners’ ideas are an indication of the huge amount of creativity that exists amongst our young people and by nourishing this appropriately we can develop more leading-edge businesses.

"The visit to the New York Stock Exchange will give the members of the winning team in the post-primary category an opportunity to gain an insight into one of the most prestigious business organisations in the world and be inspired to put their entrepreneurial talents into practice.”

Danny Moore, Co CEO of NYSE Euronext Advanced Trading Solutions, said: "As a corporate sponsor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, NYSE Euronext is committed to playing a significant role in Northern Ireland to encourage, foster and support the development of our young entrepreneurs on their journey to continued success.  We are delighted to be able to play a positive role in The Big Idea! competition by offering the post-primary winners the opportunity to explore our business operations, at the New York Stock Exchange."

Gerry Ford, Director of Advantage, said: “The young participants in The Big Idea! have risen to the challenge and produced some outstanding business ideas that can help improve their place of learning, business or local community. Advantage is committed to providing ongoing support and mentoring for all feasible business ideas developed as part of this competition, helping to make them as successful as possible.”