Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has congratulated the young winners of The Big Idea! business competition, at its Final today in Belfast.
The competition aimed to encourage a greater culture of enterprise and innovation through the development of creative business proposals by young people, students and social entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the event, held in the Culloden Hotel, during Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Minister commended all participants for their demonstration of strong entrepreneurial and innovative business talents.
Arlene Foster said: “An even more competitive and export focused economy in Northern Ireland can be achieved by a higher number of people developing creative business ideas, and our young people have the commercial acumen required to do that.
“The winners of The Big Idea! competition have demonstrated their vast inventiveness, and it is vital that our business leaders of the future have the necessary support to nurture their talents and realise their full potential.
“Through Invest NI and its enterprise partners, young entrepreneurs have access to a range of mentoring advice and financial help to bring their business concepts to fruition and sell their products and services outside Northern Ireland.
“Growing a modern, dynamic and sustainable economy is a top priority in the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme for Government and the establishment of more small to medium sized enterprises, led by today’s younger generation, is key to achieving this objective.”
The winners of the post-primary category won a trip to the New York Stock Exchange, sponsored by NYSE Euronext Advanced Trading Solutions, the innovative commercial technology division of NYSE Euronext.
Danny Moore, Co-CEO of NYSE Euronext Advanced Trading Solutions, said: “As a premiere employer in Northern Ireland, NYSE Euronext fully recognises the wealth of talent, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that exists within the region today. We are committed to playing a significant role to encourage, foster and support the development of our young entrepreneurs on their journey to continued success. It is with great pleasure that we open the doors of the New York Stock Exchange to these deserving winners.”
The Big Idea! final event was hosted by celebrity television presenter and singer, Myleene Klass. It was funded by Invest Northern Ireland, the Department of Education and the Department for Employment and Learning, and the regional stages were delivered by Advantage and other enterprise partners.
Gerry Ford, Director of Advantage, said: “Throughout this competition, teams from all over Northern Ireland have made admirable efforts to develop their business ideas. Competitions such as The Big Idea! can help to promote a more entrepreneurial culture here by providing a platform for our young people to put their enterprising skills into practice.”
Winning business ideas included a new film festival, the expansion of a music enterprise and an ecological waste paper disposal system.