Northern Ireland news

Young entrepreneurs star at Belfast city centre market

Pupils from Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) taking part in the Young Enterprise NI event at St George's Market in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell
Suzanne McGonagle

YOUNG entrepreneurs from across Northern Ireland yesterday took over a busy Belfast market as part of a project aimed at providing students with the experience of running a real business.

More than 80 market stalls were set up at St George's Market with pupils selling a diverse range of products to members of the public and facing a judging panel of business leaders.

The Big Market event was organised by entrepreneurship skills charity, Young Enterprise NI, and supported by Allstate NI, Ernst Young (EY), Ulster University (UU) and Belfast City Council.

The charity’s programmes give young people the experience of starting a real business with students making all the decisions from the company name and product, to creating a business plan, managing their finances and selling their products.

Young Enterprise chief executive, Carol Fitzsimons, said the event brought together "hundreds of young entrepreneurs out of their schools and their comfort zones, to gain valuable experience in selling beyond their school communities".

"The students will gain practical experience that we know employers need and want from the next generation," she said.

Louise Kerr from Allstate NI said it was "a chance to witness amazing innovation and creativity and meet the next generation of entrepreneurs and industry distributors".

Pat Beattie from EY said the programme is "a fantastic platform for these talented young entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and gain valuable real-world experience in the process".

Dr Mary Boyd from UU added it was a "unique opportunity for our young people to turn their business ideas into reality and gain hands-on practical experience".

Northern Ireland news