Local Schools Step Up to Enterprise Challenge in Belfast

Nov 24, 2014

Image by Harrison Photography
Pictured with Sharon Polson, Invest NI, are (L – R) Katie McCauley, New-Bridge Integrated College, Loughbrickland, Emily Brudnet, St Colman’s High & Sixth Form College, Ballynahinch, and Laura Struthers, Blackwater Integrated College, Downpatrick.

Over 450 pupils from 17 local schools have taken part in the eastern heats of this year’s Step ‘N’ Zones competition.

Organised by Invest Northern Ireland as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 (17–24 November), Step ‘N’ Zones is a series of events across Northern Ireland designed to inspire young people to be entrepreneurs.

The competition is aimed at students aged 11–14 (Key Stage 3) and challenges them to develop a business idea during a 2.5 hour session.

Sharon Polson of Invest NI’s Enterprise and Employment Team said: “This is the fourth year we have run this competition as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week and yet again we have been very impressed by the enthusiasm of all the students who took part.

“Entrepreneurship is vital to the future of our economy so it is important that we inspire our young people and provide them with the knowledge and confidence they need to pursue their ambition. The Step ‘N’ Zones competition is a great way to introduce young people to the idea of entrepreneurship and to help them develop skills such as communication, negotiation and problem solving.”

To help them with the process, the students pass through four Step ‘N’ Zones (Ideas & Research, Brand & Customers, Resources & Finance and Our Business) where they get expert guidance. The zones are facilitated by W5, YENI, Advantage NI, Sentinus and HDB Design.

Following the events the students can further develop their idea before finally submitting it online in December. Up for grabs are cash prizes of up to £1000 for the winning school and up to £100 in high street vouchers for each member of the winning team.

One group from each local event will be shortlisted to compete in a final Northern Ireland-wide event on Friday 23 January 2015.

The local heat of the competition was held in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast on 21 and 24 November.

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