Invest Northern Ireland welcomed almost 300 pupils from schools across Northern Ireland to an event which aimed to promote a spirit of enterprise and innovation amongst young people, as part of Enterprise Week.
The educational event, held at the University of Ulster, Coleraine in conjunction with Invest NI’s enterprise partners, included interactive learning zones, which provided an opportunity to learn about particular business functions.
Mary Gormley, Invest NI’s North Western Office Manager, said: “There is an abundance of inventiveness amongst our young people, and it is important that we nurture this talent in order to generate new businesses based on innovative concepts. By developing a greater understanding of what is required to be successful in business, our pupils can become more enterprising and put their ideas into practice in the long term.”
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland (YENI) gave students an opportunity to gain a comprehensive insight into important aspects of business. They were challenged to develop a new business from the initial product design and development stage through to the marketing and management phase.
The Mars Attacks zone, staged by Advantage NI, consisted of an interactive workshop where students’ learned about the importance of innovation in business. The concept of spin-out merchandise was explained, using the example of Mars bar and how confectioneries such as Mars Ice Cream and Mars Planets have evolved from one original concept. Students were then tasked with developing an idea for a new Mars spin-out product.
The pharmaceutical industry was represented by Almac, which demonstrated the process of discovering new medicines. The company also demonstrated the importance of health and safety at work and a practical exercise on personal protective equipment was included.
The Princes Trust focused on self employment, and its audience heard the story of how a local man turned his first-aid hobby into a business. Similarly, students at the Belle Isle School of Cooking presentation discovered how that business was also developed from a hobby, and how the students themselves could start a business.
The factors contributing to the success of popular rock band, Snow Patrol, were highlighted by Oh Yeah music centre. Participants discovered how the rise of the local group has been helped by a network of industry professionals collaborating to bring together expertise in areas such as sound production, media and marketing.
Mary Gormley added: “Enterprise Week provides a platform for all potential and existing entrepreneurs to develop their business knowledge and skills. They can then use this commercial acumen to develop their businesses and help the local economy.”