Young Entrepreneurs Show that the Future is Theirs

Bangor Grammar School has been selected as the winner of Invest Northern Ireland’s “The Future is Yours” competition, sponsored by the Almac Group.

The competition, organised as part of Enterprise Week, 12-18 November, required schools to produce a business concept or product with a health and safety theme. Entries were judged on their level of innovation and potential economic viability.

Bangor Grammar competed against teams from seven other schools across Northern Ireland to win £5,000 after delivering a Dragon’s Den-style presentation to a select panel of judges. The final was held at the Craigavon headquarters of the Almac Group, who sponsored the competition.

The Bangor Grammar team created a non-slip mat that can be sponsored by a company and supplied at no cost to the user and which is made from recycled material. The mat collects dirt and water as it is walked over, reducing the spread of germs and the risk of accidents on slippery floors.

As well as the £5,000 awarded to their school to help purchase ICT equipment, the winners each received a laptop computer. Finalists from the seven other schools each received an iPod.

Teams presented their concepts in a 10 minute presentation to a panel of judges including Neil Flanigan, young entrepreneur and founder of the No Geeks Internet Company, and Dr Frances Weldon of the Almac Group.

Chairman of the Almac Group Sir Allen McClay, who presented the award to the winning team, said: “Bangor Grammar School is to be congratulated on its success, particularly when the standard of all the entries was so high. The students can be proud of their concept and the hard work they put into their presentation.”

He added: “If the standard of entries is any indication, we can approach the future with a very positive outlook knowing that we have this kind of entrepreneurial spirit in our young people. Almac is delighted to be associated with the competition. The kind of entrepreneurial spirit which makes our company a success is clearly also present among all those who took part.”

Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients Group and Entrepreneurship, said: “It is important that a spirit of enterprise and innovation is instilled in our society at a young age if our economy is to prosper in the future. All of the young people who took part demonstrated these qualities and must be congratulated on the level of sheer hard work that clearly went into the development of their ideas.

“Praise, too, must go to their teachers for their encouragement and support. It is evident that inspirational teachers have a vital role to play in motivating young people and highlighting the exciting opportunities open to budding entrepreneurs. I hope this kind of work ethic and talent helps create even more local entrepreneurs who will contribute to a vibrant and successful future for Northern Ireland.”