Invest Northern Ireland in partnership with Coleraine Borough Council have created a new pilot Student Entrepreneurship competition specifically for students attending the University of Ulster, Coleraine and the Causeway Institute at Coleraine.
Launched during Enterprise Week, 13-17, November the competition has been designed to stimulate increased entrepreneurial activity amongst the students and encourage them to think about starting a business.
Championed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, Enterprise Week 2006 is a UK wide series of events designed to inspire people to be more enterprising and start or improve their business.
Encouraging the students to enter the competition Mary Gormley, Manager of the North West office, said;
“This is an extremely worthwhile competition and one that will help the students to see entrepreneurship as a rewarding and fulfilling vocation for the future. It will also teach them some of the basic skills they will need to one day start a business of their own.”
“We need to increase the levels of entrepreneurial activity in the area, particularly amongst young people, as it helps to create wealth and employment, is a source of innovation and creativity and strengthens Northern Ireland’s economy as a whole,” she continued.
Students entering the competition are required to develop a detailed business plan for a business of their own choice, complete with three years financial projections. Finalists may also be asked to carry out a 10 minute presentation on their project The winners at both educational establishments will each receive a cash prize of £1,000 with the runners up receiving £500. The deadline for all submissions is the 30 May 2007.
Coleraine Borough Council is keen to provide a supportive business environment and foster the spirit of entrepreneurship. Economic Development Manager, Linda Williams, hopes that the competition can harness the enthusiastic vision of local entrepreneurs, she said:
“The University of Ulster Coleraine Campus and Causeway Institute at Coleraine are producing extremely talented and well-qualified graduates, who are key to the future economic development of the Borough. This competition aims to inspire the positive thinkers and decision makers who have the vision and ambition it takes to start a business and give them the opportunity to see how their vision could become a reality.
“The challenges of preparing a business plan and financial projections will be a great test of the students’ powers of reasoning, presentation and persuasion, but most of all, we hope that this will show them that there is a valuable support network in place in Coleraine offering technical, financial and business planning advice to assist business start up,” continued Linda.
Upon registering for the competition each entrant will receive information from Invest NI on how to draft a business plan as well as the basic business start-up techniques. Follow up advice and support will also be offered to those business plans that show real commercial merit.
A number of different events within the North West will run throughout Enterprise Week, for more information visit www.investni.com/enterpriseweek.